February and August are the busiest times of the year for me, with the latter being the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. And the Former being Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival, at this point in the year a lot of comedians are trying out drafts of their shows to take to Edinburgh, and I’m not one to shy away from convention. For the first time I’m doing a solo show, Reverb (The Love Story of Terrance the Crocodile and Julia the Mannequin). Currently describing it as ‘A surreal, anti-love story. Told in reverse’, but it could very well not be that. I’ve sat down with the cast, Terrance the Crocodile, Julia the Mannequin and the Narrator (Daniel Nicholas) to find out more about it.
Hello, how are you all?
How’s the show going?
J: It could be better, but some people aren’t dedicating enough time to it.
T: It’s almost finished, there are a lot technical aspects that need to be worked out, but I think we’re almost there
D: I need to rewrite the whole thing.
First off let’s start off with the title, why have you chosen for it to be so long?
J: Administrative error.
T: Because some people see themselves as a rock star, and think a ridiculously long title makes the show seem more like an album, with the bracket and everything it sounds like a title for a Fall out Boy album track circa 2003-05.
D: I wanted to have title that people can say quickly, but also I needed something that would explain the show. Although this hasn’t happened as the second half isn’t even in the brochure.
J: the aesthetic
T: sounds nice
D: because it echoes all the generic love stories of films and experiences that people have been through, it’s a very surreal show but I’ve tried to make it quite relatable to people’s lives.
How did this project come about? Where did you guys meet?
J: Well me and Terrance used to be married…
T: yes, we did. I met Dan at a chess tournament in Spalding last year. It was over the game of chess that we started talking about each other’s lives and experiences, and Dan said that mine and Julia’s story needs to be told. We met up for an initial meeting to discuss more, and before we know it we are in Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival.
D: I have no idea how any of this has happened. All I know is that I tried making a different show, and somehow ended up with this.
Do you feel it’s an accurate portrayal of your lives?
D: I think people will read into more than they should.
What’s it like working with each other?
J: It’s certainly been interesting; working with my ex-husband hasn’t been easy. There’s a lot of history there, which had to be dug out to make this. A lot of unresolved feelings, the whole process at times have been quite painful leaving a feeling of vulnerability there.
T: That’s how you know it’s going to be a good show.
D: You hope.
Dan you’ve gone on record saying It’s not a comedy show, is this true?
D: It is and it isn’t. I think it’s quite hard to pin down in a way, in some ways there’s a lot of comedy and storytelling, but in a lot of ways it’s quite sad.
J: it’s more like a piece of devised theatre, or a play.
T: It’s a show show, you know? I don’t think it should be labelled as anything other than that.
D: Yeah it’s just a show.
Terrance can you actually play the ukulele?
J: He can’t.
T: I can
D: You’ll have to wait and see.
Unusually for you the show features a lot of tech, including a PowerPoint of fishes, how did this come about?
D: I tend to avoid doing tech, and keeping everything as minimal as possible. So it can be easily transferable, However during the process I’ve found that it’s become a necessity. Otherwise it’s just going to be a man talking for an hour, part of the challenge of making this show is keeping it dynamic throughout 60 minutes. There’s a of things that I’ve tried but have taken out though as it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the show
T: You cut out a lot of the audience interaction didn’t you?
D: Not all of it…but yes, a lot of it has gone. There was a point with the show where I was going to play the game of musical chairs with the audience. It became apparent quite quickly that that wasn’t needed. In many ways this is going to be quite different to the rest of my work, I think it’s good though, as it’s going to and has stretched me as performer/writer.
J: There are plans for there to be voice others too.
Without giving too much away, what is your favourite bit of the show?
D: Pretending to be Matthew McConaughey.
T: There are some really good monologues in there, some of which are quite raw and personal. But also woven together with fiction, there’s something interesting about watching art where subjects are talked about in such detail that it becomes hard to know how much of it is true or not.
D: None of its true.
J: The voice overs.
What else do you plan to see during the festival?
T: By the time this comes out all the shows I want to see will have been and gone. Jack Campbell’s hour for instance. There’s a lot of interesting stuff that the Leicester Fridge is doing, such as a battle night to see which is the best comedy night in Leicester, and a show in the Guildhall.
J: Those shows will be over though by the time this article comes about. I’m looking forward to seeing Dan’s other show Yours Desperately, Dan and Lydia, their podcasts have been great so far, and Upstairs at the Western, is a perfect space for an intimate comedy show about love and relationships.
T: It’s the day before Valentine’s day isn’t it?
J: Yes at 8pm. I hear they might be using voice overs.
D: We’re not using voice overs. I’m not sure how much I’ll get to see, but if I could I’d love to get down to see Gein’s Family Gift Shop, Goose, Harriet Dyer. Also Ian Hall & Bruce Edhouse’s double act show should be good.
What other projects are you doing during this festival?
D: As well as this show, there’s also Yours Desperately Dan and Lydia as mentioned, and the Leicester Fridge, which is a new initiative all about supporting Leicestershire Comedians through additional marketing and events, with the aim to raise awareness of Leicester’s blooming comedy scene. There’s also Speed Dating with Nicholas Hoult….
J &T: We’ll be there
T: We’ll be telling stories about each other to break up the awkwardness of it.
J: Through the medium of voice overs.
You’re doing a lot during this comedy festival, what has been the most challenging aspect?
D & J & T: The Voice Over’s
You can follow @EllisonNicholas on Twitter for more information.
Yours Desperately, Dan and Lydia – Upstairs at the Western 13th Feb 8pm
Reverb (The Love Story of Terrance the Crocodile and Julia the Mannequin) – Embrace Arts 21st Feb 8.30pm