An Actor's Life


Youth movement
April 27, 2012, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Just funny | Tags: , ,

In 2001 I was part of a totally devised piece of theatre. The characters, narrative even the staging was decided upon by the company. Costume was pulled together from the casts own wardrobes and second-hand shops. Every mistake and every success was ours and ours alone. It sounds like a fairly standard story for a theatre company taking it’s first steps into the world of performance, except that I was 15 years old and my oldest colleague was only 17. We were the Theatre Royal Bath’s Young People’s Theatre. We met once a week under the guidance of a brave and nurturing leader who allowed us to fully explore what our limits were without censure.

To publicise the show we took to the streets of the city, my good friend Pete & I decided to choreograph a fight that would sprawl through the centre if Bath. We were encouraged in our efforts. Pete & I spent two hours fighting, he armed with a large walking stick, me with chopsticks. I repeatedly flung myself onto the becobbled streets, whilst Pete swung wildly at my head. It was fabulous fun and undeniably dangerous. Would we be allowed to do that now? I happen to know not.

I am now in the position of course leader for the Natural Theatre’s Youth Theatre and we specialise in improvised street theatre. There is no way we could ever dream if letting two young people design a fight (with weapons) and let them take to the streets. Even when working in the relatively controlled environment of a stage fight choreographers must be used. Which is right and proper, my life would’ve dramatically altered had one of Pete’s lungs removed an eye. But they didn’t and it remains one of the most thrilling performance experiences of my acting career. I don’t want to sound too much like disgruntled of Tunbridge Wells but maybe our never-ending quest for ultimate safety for our children is robbing them of some of the richness of life.

It should be noted that the show itself was self-indulgent, highly sexual, very silly and pretty crude. Exactly what you’d expect to find inside the minds of a group of teenagers.

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Shakespeare goes global
April 26, 2012, 2:34 pm
Filed under: Just funny | Tags: , , , , ,

We are in the midst of an incredible undertaking: The World Shakespeare Festival. It is an epic festival spanning different venues, aiming to pull together companies and artists from all over the globe and share their visions of Shakespeare’s work.

There are 37 productions from 37 countries, many in different languages (including Maori). Some are straight re-tellings, others are responses to the texts. Its these that irk me slightly.

My company New Old Friends were recently approached by the Theatre Royal Bath to create a tangentially Shakespearean show. We came up with Silly Songs of Shakespeare, a Fascinating Aida style show of songs inspired by various aspects if The Bard. But we would be uncomfortable claiming it as Shakespeare, his influence is all over the show, his name is in the title but it’s definitely not his show.

I guess that is my question, if a play is inspired by the themes of one of old Billy’s pieces should we credit the old Stratfordian? Or is this just us justifying the massive reverence we show him by claiming new artistic endeavour under his name? If a play deals with jealousy and scheming and the playwright has seen/heard/read Othello is she obliged to credit WS?

For all that I can’t help but feel that any artistic response is simply trying to piggy back on the fame of the former, if it produces great new work that drives our medium forward then I am wholeheartedly behind it.



More awesomeness!
May 24, 2011, 11:36 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hello everyone! Tickets are starting to sell for our exciting eclectic Pick & Mix night, featuring circus, stand-up, escapology, music AND I CAN CONFIRM Dan Martin’s (winner of Theatre Royal Bath’s Eggsfactor competition) wonderful brand of close-up magic. He’s amazing and I can’t wait to watch him again, I want to know how he does it!

Also on sale is The Happy Couple the latest full-length show from New Old Friends. We are previewing it on Friday 24th June at The Rondo, as it is a preview tickets are a steal at just £5. The poster is below, can you spot the deliberate mistake from the ‘pepole’ who brought you Anti-Panto?



Check this out!

Check out the awesome line-up for next month’s Pick & Mix. It’s gonna be SO good. There are a couple of acts still deciding, including our favourite street magician. Well excited. Here’s the poster. Click here for tickets.



The Happy Couple
May 13, 2011, 10:41 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Allow me to tell you about The Happy Couple; it’s the next full-length show from New Old Friends. I’m about half-way through writing it and I’m pretty excited about where it is at. Lots of gags in there. It centres around two people, MAN and WOMAN, imaginative names huh? They’re a couple, a happy couple, and they don’t cheat on each other, beat each other, leave each other, kill each other, they love each other. That is the challenge I’ve set myself and its pretty difficult to drive a narrative without any conflict, I mean they bicker obviously, but 90 minutes watching two people bicker isn’t really going to cut the mustard is it? I’m no Beckett, by the way. Although our first show, Mate, was described under the headline “Better than Beckett” by Bath Life magazine once. We were so embarrassed by the claim we never actually used it on any publicity settling for the slightly more believable “full of witty one-liners you’ll be using for weeks.” Sorry I’ve gone all self aggrandising haven’t I? I’m supposed to be telling you about The Happy Couple. I wrote a while ago that it previews at The Rondo, Bath June 22nd. I lied. It previews at The Rondo, Bath Fri June 24th, tickets £5 from 01225 463362 or www.bathboxoffice.org.uk/7484 

Tickets are only a fiver because it will still be in the work-in-progress stage. We’ll have it as polished as we can but realistically it’ll be scruffy around the edges. I can confirm that all the usual N.O.F. tropes are in there, we have daft wordplay, daft songs, daft slapstick, daft conversations, daft characters, daft dancing and some truly wonderful ‘groaners’. A groaner is a gag that is so bad it makes you groan, bad but you love them. We do. It wasn’t until I read over The Happy Couple that I realised I had a recognizable style, but there is a clear line through all the work I’ve produced. I originally wanted to be a very clever Radio 4 style wit, but I’m happy to have settled in to a purveyor of a slightly naughty blend of whimsy and wordplay. The first song of The Happy Couple contains one of my all-time favourite joke rhymes I’ve ever written; Mum I know you’re listening, that bit about the drug taking, is entirely fictitious, I’ve no way of knowing that heroin is delicious. You have to work a bit to make it scan, but Heather performs it with brilliant aplomb, in fact she absolutely nails the entire song and that alone is worth the measly £5 admission.

In other news, our second Pick & Mix is looking to be a real stunner, line up announced very soon. More info and booking details for that here. We loved the last one, and all of you who came seemed to too, so hopefully this time around will be like the Peugot and go from strength to strength. It’s June 4th at 8pm still at The Rondo, Bath. Be great to see you there. In fact if you contact my on twitter @thisactorslife with a topic you would like to see rendered in comic sketch form we will oblige you.



Born ready
May 12, 2011, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Just funny

I was born ready. But I suppse most babies were; reddy, reddy/brown maybe.



Mr B’s
May 11, 2011, 7:58 am
Filed under: Just funny

There is a book shop in Bath’s fair city. But to call it merely a book shop bismirches its good name. It is an emporium of reading delights and it is called Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. Reading delights in this instance meaning great books rather than delicious confections from the urban connurbation just West of London. I adore the store, so it is with great excitement that I’m preparing for my Bilbliotherapy Spa Session this morning.

What is a Bibliotherapy Spa Session I hear you cry? (If you’re thinkin “I didn’t cry anything.” I apologise but the vast majority did and this is a democratic blog) a Bibliotherapy Spa Session consists of me going into Mr B’s being installed in a comfy chair by a fire, waited on with hot drinks and cakes and having a long chat about all things literature and which books I like and don’t like. At the end of the conversation my Mr B book monkey will dash off and collect a pile of books to the value of whatever Spa Session price my Nan has bought me.

Exciting.

For my joke today. Now I can’t remember if I’ve used this one before but the nature of it means its not important.

I like to introduce new words into my comedy so spend a lot of time with the dictionary. I was doing just that when I came across the word battology, it means to pointlessly repeat oneself.

I like to introduce new words into my comedy so spend a lot of time with the dictionary. I was doing just that when I came across the word battology, it means to pointlessly repeat oneself.

I like to introduce new words into my comedy so spend a lot of time with the dictionary. I was doing just that when I came across the word battology, it means to pointlessly repeat oneself.

Ah you get it.