The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is known to be the largest arts festival across the globe.
Monique Leuchtenmueller, born and raised in Red Deer, has been invited to the capital of Scotland to attend and perform her comedy show as part of the three-week festival in August.
But she needs help to make it happen.
Leuchtenmueller, 27, and her American show partner, Drennon Davis, make up the comedy duo for their group called Imaginary Radio.
Imaginary Radio is based in L.A., where Leuchtenmueller has been living for the past four years to work on her career as a performing artist.
It features a mixture of impressions, improv, sketch and musical comedy, all in the format of a radio station parody.
They put a comedic twist on a number of songs, music genres (from LMFAO to French 1960s music) and even radio hosts, said Leuchtenmueller, whose stage name is Monique Moreau.
Taking part in Edinburgh Fringe is a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Leuchtenmueller, and the duo couldn’t be more thrilled.
But there’s a large cost to participate in the Edinburgh festival and while Imaginary Radio’s producing company, the Pajama Men, have covered the majority of funds, Leuchtenmueller and Davis still need an additional $4,000 to meet their budget.
“At the last minute, we realized we have to hire a tech person, rent special sound equipment, and do all this stuff that we didn’t know we’d have to do originally. . . . Our theatre told us recently they didn’t have quite a few things we need,” said Leuchtenmueller, home in Red Deer for the beginning of July to visit her parents.
Imaginary Radio does all their own music, using a piano, synthesizer and a looping machine, which allows Davis to record, play back and add different affects, tempos and layers to their performances.
The group also has to pay for the printing of posters and flyers and the wages of those who hand out the flyers, she noted.
They have only 12 days left to raise the money.
Last week, they launched a project on Kickstarter, an online funding platform for creative endeavours. They’ve raised almost $500 to date, said Leuchtenmueller.
They hope to get the word out about Imaginary Radio beyond their L.A. fan base, friends and family.
“This is a great way to promote young artists trying to do something new and unique and help them take it to the worldwide stage,” she said. “If you donate, you get your name attached to our show, too. We’ll mention you in our thank-you song and there are giveaways like T-shirts and stickers. . . . We remember everyone who donates and we’ll be thanking them personally.”
If they don’t meet the target, Imaginary Radio will borrow the money but, as Davis said in their Kickstarter video, as “starving artists,” that’s their last resort.
Leuchtenmueller, who has her Grade 10 in piano, has been working with Davis in Imaginary Radio for over a year.
“I’ve always wanted to do comedy but I didn’t know where to start.”
A 2002 graduate of Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, Leuchtenmueller attended the music program at Red Deer College and then took a film program in Vancouver before moving to L.A. to pursue her interest in stand-up comedy and music.
She looked up open-mic nights online and went to as many of them as she could while working her day job as a CBS assistant.
She started getting shows about six months later, she said.
During one of these shows, she met Davis.
“We hung out and we played together and within an hour we had a funny song and we decided to just keep doing it and he had the idea to start Imaginary Radio and incorporate a whole bunch of different types of music,” she said.
“We started performing all over L.A. and it was awesome, people really liked it. Then one day last fall, an Edinburgh scout was at one of our shows at Meltdown Comics, an alternative theatre, and we didn’t even know he was there and he invited us a few months later to participate in the fringe festival.”
For Edinburgh, expect to see more British humour in Imaginary Radio, said Leuchtenmueller, who noted she’d been watching as many BBC shows as she could.
And there will be some elements of her Canadian upbringing visible, too, as always, she said.
“I talk about our Canadian winters, the more Alberta-country kind of stuff and I bring in a lot of Bare Naked Ladies and The Tragically Hip songs.”
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival runs from Aug. 3 to 27.
To donate to Imaginary Radio, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/285983187/the-imaginary-radio-program-at-the-edinburgh-fring.
To see an example of the duo’s work, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMhVysM6foE