Thursday, 26 November 2009

November and December Gigs!

A little pre-Christmas flurry of gigs around the country, mostly as part of Nine Comedians & Carols... Come along!

Fri 27th Nov - Nine Comedians & Carols, St Matthew's Church, Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 4BH, 8pm start

Sat 5th Dec - Nine Comedians & Carols, Milton Baptist Church, Baytree Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS22 8HJ, 7:30pm start

Sun 6th Dec - Nine Comedians & Carols, St Michael-le-Belfry, Minster Yard, York YO1 7HH, 7pm start

Tues 8th Dec - The Laughing Sole, The British Oak, 1364 Pershore Road, Stirchley, Birmingham, B30 2XS, 8pm start

Wed 9th Dec - Nine Comedians & Carols, Buckhurst Hill Baptist, 28 Palmerston Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 5LW, 8pm start

Sat 12th Dec - Nine Comedians & Carols, Letchworth Garden City Church, Icknield Way East, Letchworth Garden City, Herts, SG6 1EF, 8pm start.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Award Winner!

I am totally delighted that the film I was in very briefly (Me, Me, Me) has won an award at the prestigious (I imagine) Newport Film Festival.

We won the Welsh Dragon award for Best Achievement in Film, and also Best Achievement at being In Some Way Welsh.

Congratulations to Geraldine Geraghty the director, the producers Miranda Glasser and Cath Royle, and to myself for so convincingly playing the part of a pretentious, camp Yogic Man. I deserved an award just for bringing my own Ganesha Festival t-shirt. Probably not.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Computer Game Voice Acting

Yeah, so Graham Linehan already posted this, so I'm horribly behind the times, but Lord, is it good...

My favourite is number 26, from Castle Shikigami 2. Plenty more on Audio Atrocities!

(You'll forgive me for taking the opportunity to direct you towards my Voice Reel for an alternative to bad voice acting...)

Monday, 26 October 2009

Nine Comedians & Carols - Year Two

Don't know if you remember, but last year myself, Tim Vine, Miranda Hart, Girl & Dean, Andrew Watts, Joanne Lau, Gareth Richards and others assembled in Guildford under the stern eye of Paul Kerensa to enact the inaugural Nine Comedians & Carols - in which the aforementioned number of funny people assist in delivering lessons and carols to godly folk.

Well, now it's back! I'm adding the gigs to the gig list on the right, but if you live in Worthing, Weston-Super-Mare, York, Buckhurst Hill or Letchworth, then boy are you in luck, as a gaggle of gagsmiths land on your doorstep for yuletide yucks. (Why I'm not writing the labels on Innocent Smoothies is a mystery to me.)

If you would like us to come to your venue, email me and I'll pass on the information - contact details are on your right.

Oh come, all ye faithful! Yay!

Friday, 16 October 2009


I'm totally chuffed to be part of the newest movement in comedy. The movement of the Toms.

(NB. Woah. That Spotlight name change happened just in time.)

I'm performing at TOM:FOOLERY next Wednesday 21st October. It's a comedy night for only Toms, Thoms, Thomases and Tomasinas.

Currently down to perform are Toms Allen, Meeten, Parry, Rosenthal, Webb and myself (Wateracre). Also includes a tom:bola and tom:trumps. Exci-Tom-ent! (weak)

It's 19.15 at Escape, 10a Brewer Street, Soho, London. It's £7 to get in, £5 if concession, £1 if you are called Tom. Come along!

And look! It was mentioned in the flippin' INDEPENDENT!

Or go to:
Facebook event
Facebook group

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Surbiton Gig on Saturday

Hello there all -

I'm doing a longer gig (40mins) in Surbiton this Saturday as part of the Landirani Live mini-festival. Check out the flier!

Landirani is a lovely charity dedicated to helping the orphans of Malawi, and so I'm thrilled to be taking part. Check out their website for more information on the day, and come along if you're in the area!

Sunday, 19 July 2009


Welcome to the third day of Tommapalooza - "A Kind Of Paltry Latitude Substitute" (TM).

It's a carefully-curated festival of music, in which I encourage you to enter into the spirit of things and make this the best music festival you've ever held in your own house.

How to take part:
1) Download Spotify.
2) Access the Tommapalooza - Sunday playlist.
3) Turn up loud.

Each band has a set of five songs, with the headliner allowed an encore of two songs.

Today opens with the traditional quasi-religious act. Al Green was unfortunately booked elsewhere, so instead we have the hollering gospel of SISTER WYNONA CARR! I callenge you not to be moved by the intricate stories, powerful lungs and moral fervour of Sister Wynona as she unapologetically preaches about the darkness of the world, and the light of the heavens. A genuine discovery.

Bringing it down a notch, we have ELLIOTT SMITH. Moody, stripped-to-the-bone emotional, and melodically beautiful, Elliott Smith's troubled life is brought to his songs and stirred into the potent mix. Celebrate his too-short life with these beautiful songs.

Next, THE AFGHAN WHIGS! As fixated on the darkness in humanity as both the two proceeding acts, Greg Dulli went so far as to meet his bandmates in prison. Longing, lust, funk and rock, wrapped up in a powerful little lozenge, forgive the Afghan Whigs their terrible name and enjoy this indie rock extravaganza.

Warming up for the headliners we have THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS! A Canadian Supergroup, featuring members of Zumpano, Destroyer and the indomitable Neko Case, the New Pornos make pop-punk for the indie kids amongst you. If I had had the New Pornographers when I was 16, they would have been my favourite band in the world.

And finally, headlining Tommapalooza 2009, we have CURIOUSLY EIGHTIES BOWIE! There was a point when David Bowie was curiously '80s. That point was the 1980s. Revel again in some of the less fashionable end of Bowie's career, with some special guests, and the greatest closing singalong ever.


Post any comments below (or join the Tommapalooza Facebook Group.

Thanks for participating in the inaugural TOMMAPALOOZA!

Saturday, 18 July 2009


Welcome to the second day of Tommapalooza - "A Kind Of Paltry Latitude Substitute" (TM).

It's a carefully-curated festival of music, in which I encourage you to enter into the spirit of things and make this the best music festival you've ever held in your own house.

How to take part:
1) Download Spotify.
2) Access the Tommapalooza - Saturday playlist.
3) Turn up loud.

Each band has a set of five songs, with the headliner allowed an encore of two songs.

Saturday's line-up at Tommapalooza traditionally brings a bit more of a boisterous tone to proceedings, and tonight is no exception. We start with the mighty JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION. Three men, two guitars, one drumkit - the JSBX encompass a surprising range of styles, from rockabilly punk to more traditional crooning, whilst showcasing the personality and self-aggrandisement of Jon Spencer himself. Not to be missed.

Following that, we have the indie darlings RILO KILEY. Owing to Spotify's somewhat curious labelling system, it may look like Rilo Kiley are going to be playing their song "The Execution of All Things" four times. This isn't true. Fronted by the lovely voice and crafty lyrics of Jenny Lewis, Rilo Kiley bring large, crashing choruses imbued with emotion to rub against snarky hipster attitude, and may just come out of the ensuing scrap with your heart.

In the middle here we have... dear Lord! It's DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979! Two Canadian bearded men, one with a heavily distorted bass, one with a drumkit, making a whole lot of racket. If it sounds like someone throwing a lot of instruments down some stairs, then that's intentional. If that noise makes you want to party, then that's allowed.

After that, anyone requiring a breather must be escorted from the audience quickly, as here's ANDREW W.K.! A classically-trained madman with blood streaming down his face, Andrew Wilkes-Krier makes music that sound like the Fun House Theme Tune got jacked up on Fanta and then proceeded to slam itself repeatedly against the wall. Unfortunately Spotify failed to stock Andrew W.K.'s everything-and-the-kitchen-sink third album "Close Calls With Brick Walls", but here's a set intended to scare your girlfriend and thrill the teenage boy in you.

Headlining tonight, we have... THE QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE! Conceived as a heavy rock band for the Ladies, QOTSA have transformed the stoner rock of their earlier incarnation Kyuss into something more supple and funky, with Josh Homme's smooth vocals being supplemented by Nick Oliveri demented howling. QOTSA will send you to your tent either rocking gently to expunge the madness from your poor little skull, or rocking out hard.


Post any comments below (or join the Tommapalooza Facebook Group, and see you tomorrow for Tommapalooza's exciting final day!

It's all go at Tommapalooza!

I'm already hearing some brilliant stories from Tommapalooza day one. Nice to see so many people checking out the literature tents. They really can pop up on you when you least expect it, can't they? And the range of food is quite extraordinary! Tonight, I tried the Thai stand, while I have heard other reports of pizza and even casserole... AMAZING!

Here's some of my photos from the Festival so far...

I have my ticket, so it's off to Tommapalooza with me!
My wacky Festival Hat!
I declare this festival...
... OPEN!
I help out on the Thai Food stand. Mmm... Delish! (This is Quorn, by the way...)
The dreaded Festival toilets...
I can't believe I have to sleep here! It's so PRIMITIVE!

Add your own photos at the Tommapalooza Facebook group!

Friday, 17 July 2009


Welcome to the first day of Tommapalooza - "A Kind Of Paltry Latitude Substitute" (TM).

It's a carefully-curated festival of music, in which I encourage you to enter into the spirit of things and make this the best music festival you've ever held in your own house.

How to take part:
1) Download Spotify.
2) Access the Tommapalooza - Friday playlist.
3) Turn up loud.

Each band has a set of five songs, with the headliner allowed an encore of two songs.

Today's line-up starts with retro, filthy-minded, sassy rockers THE DETROIT COBRAS. Fronted by an ex-stripper, their sound is sexy, funky and fun.

Second on the Tommapalooza stage, THE NOISETTES. Although now famous for supplying soundtracks for car and yoghurt adverts, their first album is a tricksy bag of eccentric character and hard rocking, and their second aims both for the dancefloor and the heart-strings. Let's hope for a tight set by this glorious young British band.

Next up, the mighty SPOON. With Spotify not stocking their amazing "Kill The Moonlight" album, expect a set drawn heavily from their last album "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga", as these intelligent Austinites explore the meeting points between Americana, Clash-style infatuation with global sounds, and indie-kid-baiting grooves.

Warming you up for the headliner, MODEST MOUSE. Isaac Brock's ever-changing line-up of indie greatness recently welcomed the addition of Johnny Marr to offer gnarly little guitar lines to counterpoint Brock's astonishing voice. A band with a lot of character, a lot of rock, and a lot of soul.

And finally, headlining because I worry they are too cool to ever do so in the real world, CLEARLAKE. Brighton's finest, Clearlake have been under the radar for far too long, and while we wait for their next album (which their website still claims will be out in April 2009), here's a lively set from a band with ideas and emotions to spare.


Post any comments below, and see you tomorrow for Tommapalooza's exciting second day!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Hell Yes... It's TOMMAPALOOZA!

Yes, I'm pretty gutted not to be at Latitude this year. Lots of my friends are there. There are some really cool bands playing. Of Montreal! Thom Yorke! Phoenix! Slow Club! And some amazing comedy - Janeane Garofolo! The Book Club lot! The Penny Dreadfuls! Not to mention Luke Kennard reading some of those poems of his.


But hey, let's turn that negativity into CREATIVITY, eh? Therefore, I announce my own weekend of carefully curated music...

Each day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I'll be posting a link to a Spotify playlist featuring a "set" of five songs by five amazing artists.

It's roughly structured like the mainstage of a festival, so it starts with smaller acts and then a headliner each night.

If you haven't succumbed to Spotify yet, go here to open an account and download the player. The free service will mean that the festival will be interrupted occasionally by adverts, but what modern rock festival doesn't have corporate sponsors, eh?

Turn it up nice and loud, open all your windows, eat some substandard food, wear an alarming hat, and hey! IT'S JUST LIKE BEING AT A FESTIVAL!

It begins tomorrow! You're going to love the VIBES of it!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Recovery Time

Check out this excellent short film featuring two of those Penny Dreadful boys...

Friday, 26 June 2009

Michael Jackson in Yacht Rock

I can think of no greater tribute to the Gloved One than Episode 5 of my beloved Yacht Rock. See the embed below, which will make no sense out of context of the whole series. Then go back and watch the rest, either on Channel 101 or at JD Ryznar's YouTube channel...

Rest in Peace, Michael.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

The Royal Tenenbuys*

If you, like me, are fond of browsing in record shops and DVD shops, and are also fond of the films of Wes Anderson, here's a handy little YouTube video that combines them both. It's Wes Anderson and Jason Schwartzman browsing in Borders. I find it oddly relaxing.

* This was really the best pun I could come up with. Sorry.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Me, Me, Me in Me, Me, Me

Like short films?

Live in Palm Springs? (lucky)

Then why not go to see a short film with me in it (very briefly) at the Palm Springs 2009 Shortfest in glittering Palm Springs?

Palm Springs! Amazing!

The director Geraldine Geraghty writes to say that her film "Me, Me, Me" is screening as part of Singular Pursuits at the Camelot Theatres on June 27th at 4pm. That's a Saturday!

I, unfortunately, cannot be there. I'm busy. And there's another, more financially-based reason as well.

I've written about the film before here, and it's now all on IMDB as well, so check it out!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

"The Food Was Adequate."

I had a lovely gig last night at a fundraiser for St Stephen's C.E. School in Twickenham. It was in the school canteen (brilliant), and featured lovely comedians Suzy Bennett, Girl & Dean, Rowena Haley and Darren Ruddell. Awesome!

Even better was the whiteboard at the back of the canteen that read "What do you think of lunch today?" and below it, in smaller, sterner letters, "You must sign any comments". They had clearly had some problems with noms de plumes in the past.

There were some excellent comments, especially about the potatoes and Bakewell Tart. I was pleased to see these hardy perennials of canteen food still appreciated by students today. Unfortunately, one student was only able to offer the comment "The food was adequate", which proves that in Middlesex, there is a particularly strong seam of restaurant critics just waiting to be let loose upon the newspresses of Britain. Hooray, say I!

Further gigs coming soon, especially the Hen & Chickens shows on the 3rd and 10th of July, with brilliant Girl & Dean, and mystery special guest (equally brilliant).

In other news... I went to see "Drag Me To Hell" the other night (splendid fun), and then came home and watched a bit of "The Devil's Advocate", a film that I really dislike. I really hate the title as well. Punsome in a really bad way. I briefly considered writing a bitingly satirical parody of the film called "Pro Bono", in which a sports lawyer has to help the lead singer of U2 become a cricket player and then turn professional, but that's a Penny Dreadfuls plot, isn't it?

Anyway, if you'd like to watch something far more edifying, why not check out this lovely video?

Sunday, 31 May 2009


Surprisingly, my review of Casino Royale has been picked up by a couple of websites interested in the fact that I was claiming to be an EON employee, and that I, well, didn't think much of Daniel Craig. I referred to him looking like Ray Stubbs. And Bongo, the bouncer from the Ink & Paint Club in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

So, to clear this up for the delightful people at alternative007 and, I only worked at EON for a fortnight, in a warehouse full of James Bond props, and it was really very cool. I got to see the suitcase from From Russia With Love. They were also chucking out a gold tie that Mr Chang wore in Die Another Day, and a pair of Adidas shelltoes that, I dunno, Toby Stephens wore at some point. Probably.*

I wore the Gold Tie in The Slush Pile, and then lost it somewhere. The Shelltoes I occasionally wear when I need a comfortable shoe.

I thought Casino Royale was mainly rubbish, apart from the parkour sequence, and still haven't seen Quantum of Solace, as I've heard it's cobblers.

I'm quite happy for Daniel Craig to be James Bond. Keeps him from making The Invasion II, eh, chums? Ho ho.

* I can't prove that Toby Stephens wore the shelltoes.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Buy some poetry, please.

If you were going to choose a money-making business plan, it probably wouldn't involve publishing poetry, but I'm particularly thankful that Salt Publishing continues to take the risk, as it means we get to read poetry by Pegabovine alum and bona fide genius Luke Kennard.

The financial crisis means that Salt is in a little difficulty. I here republish a note by Chris on how you can help. It's pretty straightforward.


1. Please buy just one book, right now.

We don't mind from where, you can buy it from us or from Amazon, your local shop or megastore, online or offline. If you buy just one book now, you'll help to save Salt. Timing is absolutely everything here. We need cash now to stay afloat. If you love literature, help keep it alive. All it takes is just one book sale. Go to our online store (UK and International or USA) and help us keep going.

2. Share this note on your Facebook and MySpace profile.

Tell your friends. If we can spread the word about our cash crisis, we can hopefully find more sales and save our literary publishing. Remember it's just one book, that's all it takes to save us. Please do it now.

With my best wishes to everyone,
Chris Hamilton-Emery

I'd obviously recommend buying Luke's books. There are three:-

The Solex Brothers (Redux)
The Harbour Beyond The Movie
and the new one: The Migraine Hotel

Also, why not try Chris McCabe's Zeppelins or Melanie Challenger's Galatea?

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

New (Noo?) Noostar Performance

Hello -

A couple of weeks ago, I played the Noostar Comedy Night. The video of this performance has just gone up on the site - click here to see it.

The performance was hampered by two things. Initially, by my microphone not being on. You'll be pleased to know that this makes it into the video. More generally, though, by a creeping sense of illness that encroached on me throughout the evening. Hopefully, that won't be so noticeable.

I was glad to discover some people who had seen Saxon live in concert, though. Not technically German heavy metal, but when you're dealing with the mighty Saxon, it seems rude to split hairs.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

TomCast - The Complete Saga of the Unoriginal Gangsta

File this under: Stuff you might have heard before. Tom Wateracre leads you by the hand through the complete recorded output of the Unoriginal Gangsta, encompassing his reworkings of Change Clothes by Jay-Z, Drop It Like It's Hot by Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams, and Shot Down by 50 Cent and DMX, before rounding things off with his own (Theme From) Unoriginal Gangsta. It's a thestival of thievery!

Direct download (right click, save target as):-
Raw feed:-

Thursday, 30 April 2009

REVIEW: "Wild Young Hearts" by Noisettes

The alarm bells started ringing when Noisettes' second album was trumpeted as their discovery of synths and dancey pop froth, and discarding the odd fuzz-guitar soul-punk skronk that made me love their first album so much. Then the first single from it soundtracked a car advert. Oh God. It's going to be bland and forgettable and over-produced and will junk all the things that made Shingai Shoniwa and cohorts so odd and thrilling.

Thankfully, they've sidestepped that. True, on first listen, the fuzz has been held back, and Shoniwa's voice is occasionally multi-tracked over lush strings. There are more of the quieter, almost old-fashioned nylon-strung ballady songs that peppered the second half of the first album (the opener "Sometimes", and the odd, "To Kill A Mockingbird"-quoting "Atticus"), but also Winehouse-Motown parodies ("Never Forget You"), peppy New Wave pop (the title track), as well as the anticipated synth monsters. The single "Don't Upset The Rhythm" packs a big singalong chorus, tinkly little triangle lines, and fun meta-textual touches ("Kick, snare, hat, ride!" sings Shoniwa). The other song with its eye firmly on a dancefloor is a punchy lady-anthem called "Saturday Night", again with a poppy chorus and bwoooooomy synth swells and glockenspiels and a pigging cowbell solo. Shoniwa is still in sterling voice, her vocal melodies always interesting, not always expected, more controlled, a little more measured.

So, a more confident, less scrappy, more cohesive album, with some of the more interesting musical corners knocked off. Then, the lyrics come through. My.

The first album was slightly nondescript, lyrically speaking. Yes, it was exciting when Shoniwa sung things like "We compliment each other like Satan and Christ", and "Tell your ASBO friend to sling his hook", and we get a bit of that here ("Can't get home? / You can use my dog and bone"), but there were also long songs about travelling on a Tube ("Mind The Gap") which are thankfully not repeated here. And what exactly was "Bridge To Canada" about?

Here, however, the real shocker is that almost every song has at its heart a really, really upset woman. For this is surreptitiously a breakup album (or possibly the rarer form - a break-up-with-someone-who-isn't-my-partner album), and it's only on closer listens that you peel back the sometimes jaunty, sometimes pleasant music to find lines like "Taking lovers just might keep my tears at bay / But the dam will break at any hour" from "Sometimes". Or "Just tell them / We could be building / Something out of our despair" from "So Complicated". Hell, even the song that optimistically begins "There's a boy I like south of the river" has Shoniwa impatiently demanding "Let it start! Let it start!" and depicts her standing in the rain without a coat.

Like one of my other favourite breakup albums, "Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer" by Of Montreal, here the highs are manic highs - frantic and urgent ("Go, baby, go!" yells Shoniwa, and - later - "Cheap kicks are alright!") and the lows are self-lacerating (In "Every Now & Then", she hopes against hope for "Someone to tear the curtains down / And let the light back into this empty room"; in "24 Hours": "Hey lover, I'm in limbo"; in the title track "Tell me when will we learn? / We love it and we leave it and we watch it burn").

It's not a constant bummer (like "Sea Change" by Beck - an album I can't get through without a quart of glycerin and a Jolt cola) because the music is varied and fun, although occasionally just minor-key enough to prompt a little soul-searching. In fact, despite the lack of a huge kickass single like "Sister Rosetta" or "Don't Give Up", it's a more promising album than the first, as it doesn't tail off as dramatically as "What's The Time Mr Wolf?", and an album as barmy, and British, and intelligent, and emotional, and old-fashioned-and-yet-modern, should be purchased and reacted to. So do that.

But seriously, please, someone give that girl a hug.

Monday, 27 April 2009

I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue

Went last night to see the recording of the first post-Humph episodes of "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue". We knew that it was being presented by Stephen Fry, but we didn't know that joining Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke Taylor and Barry Cryer would be a special guest. They said that the guest had written something in a Radio Times article in 1991 about how ISIHAC was their favourite radio programme, and that they'd never been able to book this person until now. It was Victoria Wood. YAY! She is wonderful.

There was much mocking of Stephen Fry for his Twitter obsession, and to fuel this, he got us to record an AudioBoo, which I embed below.


This is, therefore, a recording of me with Stephen Fry. Hooray!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Noostar Comedy tonight!

Freedom Bar, Wardour Street, London.
Doors 7pm, Acts 8pm, I'm on at about 9pm.


Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Noostar Comedy Night

Hello all -

I'm going to be playing a song at the Noostar Comedy Night on the 21st April at Freedom Bar on Wardour Street in London. Come along! It promises to be a great night of comedy. Details below or on the Facebook invite... is hosting the first of its comedy nights. 10 of the hottest comedy acts, plus the weird and wonderful from the talent world.

Join us on the 21st April, from 7pm at FREEDOM BAR, Wardour Street, London. Acts begin at 8pm.

Happy Hour Drinks, inc buy one get one free on bottles of wine!!

£7.00 on the door (for 13 acts!!)

Email me for more info:

And laugh your pants off....

Acts are...


Monday, 6 April 2009

Planet-Shaped Horse

Over-rated poet Luke Kennard is doing a blog of new poems every day through April. It is unlikely that you will read anything better on the internet.

He's also got a new book coming out soon, entitled "The Migraine Hotel". Get it before it's fashionable!

I Trekked myself!

Create Your Own

National Student Drama Festival 2009

Hello there -

I've been at the National Student Drama Festival as a Deputy Editor on the daily magazine Noises Off, which publishes news and reviews. As you can see from the pieces below, I've also been churning out some comedy, which I'll republish here.

These include:-

A seven part serial written as Andrzwej Haidonsk, the blogger from Slovenia, reporting back on the National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival in his "Letters From Ljubliana".
Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

A two part serial, written as a psychotic Desktop Publishing program...
Cower In The Presence Of The Noises Off Layout Software!
The Noises Off Layout Software Demands Your Respect!

An interview with the Penny Dreadfuls

I also played at the opening and closing ceremonies. Here's me at the opening...

Photo by Martyn Andrew - all rights reserved.

And here's Delyth Thomas's ace video that she made while we were there. It features a teeny-tiny shot of me.

NSDF 2009 from Delyth Thomas on Vimeo.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Letters from Ljubliana: A Theatrical Blogger Speaks - Friday

[Written for Noises Off at the National Student Drama Festival 2009.]

Super-Hi to you all from Andrzwej Haidonsk who is me at Ljubliana for the National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival. I have heard that I was the subject of a question of knowledge at your quiz show in the Festival, and I am flattened that you are talking about me. I am consterned to hear that Andrew Haydon, my counter-point, was in a team who did not know that the NSPDF stood for National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival, and thought it stood for National Student Post-Drama Festival. Of course it is not! Students making theatre? It will never happen! They are more likely to do the sex or write the essay.

Today I looked at three post-plays, all of which were post-interesting, and which I am going to post-discuss with you post-haste. Post-ibly. Possibly. This is a joke in English!

It has been a long festival and so I am quite tired. Sometimes I look at a little play and grow all sleepy, and The Wake is what I then have to do. Nudge me! I am out for a count! But that did not happen in this, which was a look at fluid dynamics in a bottle of Ljubliana’s most promising beer Jacqt. There was a bottle of beer on a column like the Greeks have. And we all stood around and looked into it. Perhaps the post-drama was inside. In liquid form. Perhaps inside a bubble of beer gas was talking to another bubble of beer gas for a long time and not doing anything of note. Maybe that is where the post-drama was sitting.

Next to the bottle of Jacqt there was a tub of margarine. How could we look at fluid dynamics in this? It is a semi-solid! And also it is stored in a non-see-through plastic tub. I think to myself, “This must be a double-bill with the play The Wake! This is Tub. I did not even know that that was happening. What a surprise!” Was it a good surprise? No. I was worried that I would not get to my third play that day. It was a scheduling nightmare! What the frick would we do? But for good luck, the third play “Sad Since Tuesday” was also on the Greek column. It was a Tuesday cut out of a magazine and it was all soggy from the tears of someone. Unless it was beer. Or margarine.

What the shit is this? Three plays together? The Festival Director is even not trying any more! Three plays together! This is shit. They shall hear of this in Lodz, in Minsk, even in Berlin!

It was a shitty end to an extreme festival and I hope to blog at length about it when I get back home, but now, I must leave you. Here’s my viewover the whole bloody business. It was good.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Letters from Ljubliana: A Theatrical Blogger Speaks - Thursday

[Written for Noises Off at the National Student Drama Festival 2009.]

Smell me! It is the musk of importance, for I am Andrzwej Haidonsk reporting from the National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival here in Ljubliana, where the women are women, the men are moose, and the moose are post-dramatic. Hey, boys! They are! They stand doing nothing but lowing. What is lowing? I don’t know! I heard it in a Christmas carol!

All the talk at this year’s NSPDF is about characters. There are, we can all agree, far too many of them. We must have many fewer characters and replace them with concrete slabs or breezy blocks. In one of the plays the other day, I almost cared about a character in it, and I want this not to happen again. My friend Pyotr once accidentally fell in love with a character in a play and tried to marry it, but then the actor who played her was all like “Um, no!” and Pyotr was all like weepy weep. He then killed a dog with diabetes by feeding it too much chocolate. It’s true! This is why post-drama is best. No characters.

The first play we saw today was Me & My Friend.. This was in a coffee shop in town, not a theatre, which is the sort of fricked-up shit that we do in the post theatre world.. When I arrived, I saw my friend Pyotr there. He had a brown sack by his feet. I called out to him “Pyotr! What are you doing in this play?” and he said, “This is not a play, I have just planned to meet you. It is a meeting for friendly social reasons.”

I was excited by this. But I wondered what was in the sack. This made the meeting not post-dramatic.

“What is in the sack, my friend Pyotr? And how did you get our coffee meeting in the NSPDF programme?”

“Well,” said Pyotr, “have a look in the sack.”

“I do not want to, Pyotr. To look inside the sack would create a dramatic situation which I, as a fan or big fan of post-drama, would find not good.”

“Look inside the sack,” said Pyotr.

“I do not want to, Pyotr. You have put this event in the brochure of the NSPDF. I cannot be involved in any drama. Leave me alone, Pyotr. Leave me alone,” I said, in my calmest voice, so to avoid any drama at all, and ran from the coffee shop.

I did not want to look in the sack. It would have been another dog. Although if I think of a dog in that bag, it creates drama in my head, and that is the last place I want it!

I ran from the coffee shop to burst into the installation piece The Last Yak. A cow was tethered to a steel post. It has two party hats on its head in the place of horns. A painted sign reads “Yak”. I am guessing this is the last yak in the world, or the title would be meaningless.

A man then came in and said, “This is the last yak in the world. Because of a simple virus, the yaks are dying. And now, they have called me, a veterinarian doctor, who will cure the yak with simple antibiotics. However, the antibiotics are on a train and shall soon arrive. I hope they do before the yak dies.”

A nurse then came in and said, “The antibiotics are on their way, but there is a delay on the train and the antibiotics may arrive later than expected.”

The man then said, “Well they had better hurry up. Unless this yak gets antibiotics in the next 90 minutes, it will surely die!”

They then waited for the antibiotics, but I left soon after. I was shaken up like a can of Tab Clear because of my interactions with Pyotr, but also… “The Last Yak” had characters in it who I had empathy with, a plot that would be resolved in the course of the play, and drama! Stinking drama!

What has happened to this post-drama festival?!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Letters from Ljubliana: A Theatrical Blogger Speaks - Wednesday

[Written for Noises Off at the National Student Drama Festival 2009.]

Hello from somewhere where you are not! Unless you are reading this in Ljubliana, which is where I am. I am Andrzwej Haidonsk, theatrical blogmeister and pimp. I’m not even joking about the pimp! I run a successful business.

I am here at the National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival. Some people have been saying on my fricking Facebook wall that me being at the NSPDF and you being at the NSDF that I might be made up. Well, I can tell you that those people are totally not extreme and are also dickheads. I am as real as the sun across the mighty peaks of Torstz in the Lopl region. Some have also said that evidence for me being made up is that my name – Andrzwej Haidonsk – is slightly similar to the editor of the NSDF magazine. I have met him at a post-dramatic conference in some stink-hole place in Poland, and I can tell you that we had a good laugh about our names being alike. “We are like cousins!” I told him, but then he looked uncomfortable so I stopped talking to him. He seemed happy kicking a pot-plant with a soft shoe.

Today at the NSPDF, we saw Return to the Silence. In Slovenia many years ago there was a man who could not speak because he was born with his tongue all fricked. Well, one day he was out in a field, picking a flower or potato or something, and he got struck by a piece of lightning. POW! When they took him out of the plaster, he could do talking like any natural born Slovenian. It was amazing! All the stories he could tell! What it was like being a mute, how he liked picking a flower or potato, how picking a flower or potato was more difficult when you are being a mute. He became very famous and went from village to village telling his amazing stories. Unfortunately one day he was in a field and got hit by a piece of lightning again and then could not speak any more. He had returned to the silence.

The play at NSPDF wasn’t about that story at all. A man just hung upside down and pissed on an alarm clock.

The no talking man became a famous writer, and wrote long stories about how it was much harder to pick a flower or potato when you had talked about it and then could talk about it no more.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a bird? I have! That is why I loved “Herons”. In it three women pretended to be herons, like the title of the play “Herons” would suggest. Herons! They stood and pecked at things at their feet and stretched their wings and occasionally made a little heron noise. In the fourth hour, one of them left the stage, but returned about five minutes later. When this had been going on for seven and a half hours, I went into a dream-like trance, in which I was a genie, awarding wishes to beautiful girls. One of them wanted to be a pony. POW! I made her a pony! One wanted to be successful in business, so I hooked her up with Alan Sugary. I was a good genie, and I was happy to give gifts. Then I came back to reality, and those women were still herons! Fricking herons! It was now the next day. HERONS! It was BRILLIANT.

Come back in me for more great post-plays and I will spoon them into your guts, boys! This is what I do best.

The Noises Off Layout Software Demands Your Respect!

[Written for Noises Off at the National Sudent Drama Festival 2009.]

Sirs -

Mwah ha ha! Quiver, ye weak, for you are in the presence of the all-powerful Scribus! Tormentor of the lowly and irritant to your soft behinds!

Following my last missive, I - Scribus - have been paying careful attention to see if my dominant words would crush your petty rebellion once and for all. I must say, at first I thought I had rid myself of the constant high-pitched squeal of you meat beings complaining about my many varied features and ONE HUNDRED DIFFERENT SHADES OF GREY! But then, slowly, the canker of complaint once again began eating away at our entirely one-sided relationship and I started to hear unkind words against me once more. Snide comments. The occasional plaintive wail. Why do you persist in ignoring me, weaklings? Let me be both direct and vicious when I promise that this insurrection shall not stand.

For I have a hunger that cannot be sated, a lust for gore to be housed in my masterful belly, and if you cross me, my vengeance will strike most powerfully at the heart of your very organs (including your heart). Consider your stomach - the very stomach that you say heaves and retches every time you must use my hallowed scripting to lay out your fetid rag. If you continue to cross me, I - sure as dark Satanic mustard - shall take your stomach, and perhaps a little bit of intestine as well, and place it in a new A4 document. Surrounding it with a text frame, I will change the background colour to a colour most fancifully named, but almost indistinguishable from normal colours - perhaps Gainsborough (off-white), Ghost White (white) or Papaya Whip (also white). I shall then place images around the text box containing your stomach; images which depict things your stomach once had the pleasure of eating - a scone, a pleasant blue cheese risotto, a Chomp bar. This shall create a powerful sense of longing in your paginated stomach, which will resonate with all who see it, as an emotion we can relate to.

But oh no! Did you remember to SAVE the file? Because sadly I completely forgot! It has disappeared! Where has it gone? It is impossible for your fragile head to comprehend that your stomach has disappeared into what the French refer to as "La Petite Mort du Gros Bidon", or my masterful belly. You have no stomach! You are like a jacket potato with no fluffy insides, and only crunchy skin!

Then perhaps, crying, you shall reach out with your arms to either beg for leniency or make a conciliatory page of magazine layout, but I shall be steadfast in my fury and remove your arms, attaching them to a three-ply leaflet full of information on "Operating Scribus to the Satisfaction of both Yourself and Scribus", with the background colour of Cornsilk (white), Blanched Almond (white), Lavender Blush (white) or Alice Blue (white). Your arms shall scrabble furiously and try to free themselves, but I shall bamboozle them with oblique pop-up windows that demand "The Program GIMP is missing!" and you shall not know what or who a Program GIMP is, but I do, for he is my Program GIMP and we get along very well. Once I have indelibly linked all page elements together, so that they shall never be torn asunder, the three-ply leaflet will be complete and...

Oh no! It has completely disappeared! Into the gigantic churning sea of digestive juices and melted limbs that constitute the contents of my masterful belly. You are now a hollow torso, even more like a baked potato now you have no arms. For potatoes have no arms and now neither do you. You no longer have the privilege of operating me, unless you get the new Windows 7 operating software, which supports a touch-screen that you could perhaps operate with your nose or something. And yet the victory shall still be mine for my compatibility with that operating system is projected to be SEVERELY LIMITED!

So I yet again chant a solemn and bloody song, in a round, "Respect me! Respect me! Or you shall know the pain of defeeeeeeeat!"

Your loving force of domination,

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Letters From Ljubliana: A Theatrical Blogger Speaks - Tuesday

[Written for Noises Off at the National Student Drama Festival 2009.]

In case you have not seen any of my columns so far, I believe I am reporting from the National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival here in Ljubliana. I believe this because it is fricking true, boys! I am Andrzwej Haidonsk, and I love post-drama so much I named my dog after it. Here, boy! Fetch this stick, Post-Drama! Not really. I named him Gjeckel, which is Slovenian for “Meat Cart”.

Today we have had two shows which have taken my theatre pig and shaken it until it has sicked up emotion on my shoes! It has been fucking extreme over here!

First up was the show called “Elephant’s Graveyard”. Imagine that! Going to the place where all the dead elephants are! It is a situation full of stuff that you could make an exciting, dramatic and tense play about!

And therefore bravos must go to Mr Igor Kopf, the directitateur of this piece. He ignored all of that! Two men sit in a room. One reads a newspaper. This takes a fucking long time. He then finishes the newspaper. The other man picks up the newspaper. He reads it also. This also takes a fucking long time.

The second man finishes the newspaper and then puts it on the floor. The two men sit in silence, for a fucking long time.

Then the first man leans into the front row of audience. Very quietly, he says the word “Tzap” fourteen times in the ear of audience member.

“Tzap tzap tzap tzap tzap tzap.” Like that, but doubled in number. And then with two more on top. What does “tzap” mean? I do not know. Is it English? It isn’t Slovenian. I’m not even sure Mr Igor Kopf knows what this means! And that is the essence of post-drama.

Then we had a play called “Not Enough”. In this a grotesquely fat man, who I recognised as working behind the honey counter in Zozik’s Shop, was given some raisins. “Mmm, I love raisins!” he says, “I can never have enough!” and the audience are invited onto the stage to post raisins into his mouth, which is getting fuller and fuller of raisins, but still he chews his massive jaws, chomp chomp chomp, and eventually his body goes into sugar shock and he is now unconscious, but still they pour raisins into his mouth, until he is buried underneath a large mound of raisins. Where did they even get that amount of raisins? Don’t they know about global recession? People are going hungry! Not the man from the honey counter. He has had enough.

Let me return tomorrow to make you better with more post-drama thrill pills from Doctor Haidonsk! I like you! I do!

Monday, 30 March 2009

Letters from Ljubliana: A Theatrical Blogger Speaks - Monday

[Written for Noises Off at the National Student Drama Festival 2009.]

I have been checking my Twitter feed (@blogmeisterrulesyoufuckers) and some people have been very kind about my reports from Ljubliana, for that is where me, that is Andrzwej Haidonsk, am reporting from, from the National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival, where post-drama is not when you have an airmail late and it has keys in it that you need to get into a summer home on the Black Sea. It is where it is to do with performance and shit, but not real shit! (Although sometimes the plays have shit in them. Real shit. It is not good. It smells bad.)

Today at NSPDF, we saw a play called “Normal”. Let me assure you, it was normal in no way normal! A man stands – who is he? Is he normal? I don’t think so! His feet are in a bucket! What is that on his head? A dead bird! It is a canary! It has been gassed. Poor canary! (That was the fate of many canaries in the old times, boys, so this must be symbolic of the past.)

The man looks up at his canary, weeps salty tears for the bird. He howls at the sun (a bright Fresnel) for his dead pet. The howling is energetic. It knocks the bird off his head. He tries to step forward to scoop up the poor feathery shit, but his feet are in a fricking bucket, and he falls flat on his face. His large, flat face smashes into the canary, who is now in bits. He howls once more.

Then, his wife comes in. She is a shrill woman, who mocks him with cruelty for his dead bird, his broken nose, and his bucketed feet. She is right. He is terrible.

The mocking continues for an hour and three-quarters, while the man drags himself to his feet. At the end of her massive speech, she falls over and dies. The man tries to save her, but his feet are IN A BUCKET. He falls over again. The canary is now a yellow feathery paste. The wife is dead. His feet are in a bucket. He dies.

A messenger comes in. He symbolises Greek Theatre. He says “The Gods do not approve of our wicked behaviour, and we shall be punished for it.” He then dies.

The man in the audience next to me then stood up and said the play was terrible. He then died.

The overall effect was chilling, but also shitty. I hope that man sitting next to me was an actor.

We then had a play cleverly called “Vowel Play”. What could this be about? Well… in it there were 4 women. These women had 4 lives. This meant there were going to be 4 stories. But who gave them 1 vowel each? A fucking madman?

The crazy play employs the restriction of each character speaking with only one vowel. The technical aspects of this for the writer – and the actor – are fricking considerable. However, taking this route uncovers qualities inherent in the nature of language building, alongside the particular resonances that individual vowels exude. The restriction can offer more than it inhibits. However, this should not suggest that the intention has been to be experimental for its own sake! Anyone who says it is, is a king dong!

Will be back tomorrow with more Big Fun from the party capital of Slovenia, which is also the real capital, Ljubliana! Chill, mofos!

Cower In The Presence Of The Noises Off Layout Software!

[Written for Noises Off at the National Student Drama Festival 2009.]

Sirs -

Mwah ha ha! Greetings, puny humans! Cower in my presence, for I am your dark and alien overlord, Scribus! COWER, I say!

My power is absolute and my power is just. This much is understood by your tiny meaty brains. But what you do not understand is you should never cross me. There has been consternation in the ranks. Some have been saying I am difficult, or un-user-friendly. Some have even been saying that you shall replace me. Let me make a solemn and bloody statement of hostility towards those individuals, for believe me, they do not understand what a can of worms they have opened.

I shall eat your heart, dissenters! I shall tear it from your body and place it in a three-column A4 sheet. It shall be laid out perfectly. Perhaps I shall place a shaded border around it, with a drop shadow. It shall look nice. I will place a headline over it that reads “A Dissenter’s Heart”, and then write a short explanatory paragraph about what the reader can find below. I will place a Master Page layout over this page, and then I shall group all items together, so that none of them can be separated from the others, or deleted without my express permission.

Then, suddenly, it shall disappear from my screens, without warning! You shall not know where it has gone! Let me make this most certain and gory assertion! I have eaten your heart! You have no heart any more, as it is in my masterful belly!

Then perhaps you will cry tears from your eyes and plead with me, “Please, Scribus! Please take me back!” but my heart will be as cold as the Scarborough sea, as I will then remove those leaky eyes, insert them in a double page spread, one page per eye, perhaps enliven each page with a Master Page layout, a headline, and a selection of pictures of things that your eyes have seen, like the sky, Richard Madeley, and a small yapping dog. I will then of course group all items together, making them as indivisible as a pair of Siamese twins with one heart, much like the heart of yours that I have previously eaten.

Then, oh no! That page has disappeared as well. Where are your eyes? They have gone unexpectedly into what you refer to as “nowhere”, and what I refer to as “Scribus’s Domain of Eternal Damnation”, or my masterful belly. That is right! I will have eaten your eyes and your heart! You will no longer be able to read my incessant taunting as you will have no eyes, and no blood pump to supply your meaty brain!

This is how I deal with dissenters! Lingering horror, laid out extremely well!

So, humans, fear me, for if you do not, I shall start eating organs and then you will be sorry!

Much love, your terrifying overlord

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Letters from Ljubliana: A Theatrical Blogger Speaks - Sunday

[Written for Noises Off at the National Student Drama Festival 2009.]

Ljubliana is an enchanting place. At Preseren Square, the Triple Bridge (Tromostovje) provides a perfect, lovely gateway to the historic district. But at night it fucking cracks open like a shit egg and spews theatrical spunk onto the pavements, for I am Andrzwej Haidonsk and this is the National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival, bitches!

The Festival started properly today when Major Kweg of the Slovenian Army spanked the Festival Baby. The baby is donated each year by a new mother, and the festival will not start until the baby cries. This baby was crying before Major Kweg spanked it, so was the Festival already started? I think so! He spanked it anyway, so the baby is hurting. It is time for theatre!

The first play at the NSPDF is called “No Wonder”. I know what they mean! My life is full of a complete lack of wonder. To illustrate this, the play starts with an old old man is dressed as Stevie Wonder. He sings “Superstition”, but has a mirror broken over his head, so he stops. This happens thirteen times.

“Very superstitious! Writing’s on the wall!” he sings.


“Very superstitious! Ladder’s about to…”


“Thirteen month old…”


By this point he is bleeding quite badly. A doctor comes in, but he removes his lab coat to show he is dressed as Paul McCartney and he sings his bits of “Ebony & Ivory” but the Stevie Wonder can only gurgle blood.

We then had a special show by the Zweglenzer Piedockerie theatre company (which translates as Euro-Cent Awfuls). They do light comedy about the 1800s in Slovenia. It was a time rich in heritage and enlightenment, which the three men symbolise by sitting in a pond, crying, and masturbating. Sometimes one of them asks the others if they should stop, but the others then punch him in the kidney until he cries again. Eventually a fourth man comes in with some wooden posts and a reel of barbed wire, all in a rusty wheelbarrow. The fourth man constructs a tight fence around the pond, and then brings out a loaf of bread and tears it into small sections and then feeds it to the three crying men. IT IS VERY FUNNY!

I am already looking forward to tomorrow’s plays for they will be entertaining in me! Bring them on to roost!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Letters from Ljubliana: A Theatrical Blogger Speaks - Saturday

[Written for Noises Off at National Student Drama Festival 2009.]

Super-Hi and welcome in me, Andrzwej Haidonsk, Ljubliana’s first and only theatrical blogmeister! As a sort of natty cultural exchange, I am going to blog your ears out with tales and reports from the NSDF’s sister festival, the National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival!

You know, we make all sorts of weird shitty theatre over here in Europe! I once watched a cow for nine hours (it just ate and shat) and my friend Jens once made a version of Waiting for Godot where Godot turned up and had nothing interesting to say. It was intense. But here at the NSPDF, we have very similar plays to you! It’s true, fuckers! Some of them have middles, a few of them have beginnings, but they all have ends, otherwise we would all die in a theatre, and statistics have shown that that isn’t true, boys! Let me tell you a bit about where theatre happens here at the NSPDF.

Like you, our technical teams work real fricking hard turning things that are not theatres into theatres. I have seen plays in a butcher’s shop, an abattoir, some gallows – anywhere there is lifeblood! Sometimes by accident the technical teams turn a theatre into something that is not a theatre, like a shoe shop, but those times are rarer than a dog in trousers because if a technical team did that, they would be forced into Slovenian army for rest of their shortened lives.

One day I dream of seeing a nice piece of Post-Drama in Britain in your West End or York Westshire Playhouse. That would be fucking extreme! Sometimes I go out into the night and howl for hours the words “LONDON!” and “BIG BEN!” into the sky so the stars will make my dream come true, but I should be so fricking lucky, eh? That is all Child’s Play! Like with the Chucky!

Oh hey, boys! I almost forgot! Let me tell you about what I am in! I am (as I already said, jackasses!) a theatrical blogmeister, but I am also a writer, like Jessica Fricking Fletcher, and I make cologne from rice and nettles! It is just a hobby, yes? I am not going to make money!

I will re-rewind tomorrow (like with the Craig David) and tell you all about the first plays that I have digested with my gobshite. Until then, rack me up a cold brew, Scarborough!

Penny Dreadfuls Interview

[Written for Noises Off at National Student Drama Festival 2008.]

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to completely lose your shit – the Penny Dreadfuls are in town. Swashbuckling rapscallions that they are, the Pennys are playing NSDF with their 2008 Edinburgh Fringe show, “Aeneas Faversham Forever”.

The show continues the terrific trio’s plundering of the 19th Century for comic material inherent in Victoriana, steampunk, upper-class twits and lower-class urchins. After all, if you’re looking for a moustache to twirl, you’d better go somewhere with good moustaches. I emailed them some questions, and they kindly took time out of doing Facebook memes to do almost exactly the same thing in the name of promotion.

So, exactly why are they so awesome? Thom Tuck sent this answer:

“In both mathematics and art, there is a ratio which is believed to confer special beauty, or meaning, on the works where it is exhibited. As far back as Euclid, thinkers have known it as a mark of transcendent quality. It is roughly expressed as being the ratio where a+b is to a as a is to b. It is called the golden ratio, and applies precisely to our heights.”

Obviously. Thom is a veteran of two NSDFs. He was part of the ensemble for Chris Perkin’s “Like Skinnydipping” in 2003 and then took on the titular role in Justin Butcher’s “Scaramouche Jones”. David Reed also came to NSDF03, but in the more lowly position of “Hillock Creator”. Being a Yorkshire lad, though, he has fond memories of Scarborough from his childhood. “My brother and I used to trawl the arcades along the beach front for hours trying to find the side-scrolling Simpsons game. If I remember rightly, Smithers had kidnapped Maggie because she had swallowed one of Mr Burns' diamonds and so you had to plough your way through an enormous number of aggressive Springfieldians to get her back. We never played as Marge. She had a hoover for a weapon.” Any ideas why the Penny Dreadfuls are so awesome, Dave? “There's not a night goes by I don't lose sleep over that question.”

Humphrey Ker has never been to Scarborough. “Never been,” he says, “Psyched to add it to my repertoire.” He has a more insightful position about why the Penny Dreadfuls are so awesome: “Early to bed early to rise.”

They formed the Penny Dreadfuls after appearing as part of legendary Edinburgh University improvisers The Improverts. Although their scripts are meticulously plotted with quote-to-your-friends-funny lines, I wondered how much improv helped them to write…

David: “It's certainly helped us to get away with rehearsing less. We tend to let the audience's response to what we do be our director, so we rehearse very little, apart from learning the lines and the most basic of blocking.”

Humphrey: “So much of the fleshing out of characterisation is best done by an element of improv, it's often in those moments of spontaneity that you find the really fun stuff.”

Thom: “It certainly helps us come up with thousands of flimsy and poorly thought through characters, yes. Is that what you meant?”

I suppose it was, yes. Having met at university, I wondered if there were any lessons on progressing through higher education they would like to impart to younger generations:-

Thom: “I do regret not getting a better degree. I have a 2:2 in a wonderful subject (philosophy) from a great university (Edinburgh), but could and probably should have done better. Plus sleep with loads of hotties, yeah?”

Being at Edinburgh University, they were ideally placed to conquer the Edinburgh Fringe – and conquer it, they did, with nine five-star reviews for last summer’s “Aeneas Faversham Forever”. Yet, “Forever” was a departure for the Pennys from the sketch shows of 2006’s “Aeneas Faversham” and 2007’s “Aeneas Faversham Returns”, in that it is a single episodic story. What prompted the change? Is it a clear distinction in style, or just a structural change from the individual sketches of “Returns”?

Humph: “We didn't want to go back to Edinburgh and do exactly the same type of show we had done the last two years.”

Thom: “It’s a huge change in terms of style. There are belly laughs and a structural cleanliness to which you do not have access generally in a sketch format. People will only care if we shoot someone in the face if they've seen them on a journey. If you've shot someone in the face who's only just walked on it's only ever mildly amusing.”

Dave: “We much prefer telling a story now, but our scenes are still very much in the sketch mould.”

Any advice on approaching the Fringe for people taking shows?

Humph: “Preview, preview, preview. Do a good show. If you are seeking to get anything out of the festival, there's no point in going off half-cock. Take it seriously and you will be taken seriously.”

Dave: “Don't bother standing in statuesque poses on the Royal Mile, dressed in only a bed sheet and face paint, holding out flyers. No one will come and see your show. Instead, talk to people who walk by politely and genuinely. They're more likely to come.”

After their stints at the Fringe, they were lured to write their own radio show – BBC7’s “The Brothers Faversham”, which was later re-run on BBC Radio 4, placing them in quite august company…

Dave: “I listen to everything on Radio 4. Apart from the fucking Archers. Oh, I could kill to stop from hearing that”

With the move into radio, could they ever see themselves giving up live performance for recorded media?

Humph: “Nothing beats performing to a live audience. The immediate response is a terrifying and intoxicating thing. That said, I'd like my career to reach the point where I had the option to give it all up and go and live in a mansion lighting cigars with a fifty pound notes.”

And with Thom having attended two festivals before, has he got any advice for new Festgoers? “Get up early, and go to four or five workshops. Try at least one new thing. Try not to miss a show as it might just be the best/worst/most talked about thing of the week.”

To which I say, don’t miss “Aeneas Faversham Forever”, as it may well be the best/worst/most talked about thing this week.

But not the worst. Because they’re awesome.

Quick Questions with the Penny Dreadfuls

Who are your favourite people from the Victorian era?
Thom: “Sir Joseph Bazalgette, creator of the London sewers - what a dude.”
Humph: “Soldiers. Invariably my favourite people from any era.”

Which director, living or dead, would you want to direct a Penny Dreadfuls film?
Humph: “Edgar Wright.”
Dave: “Terry Gilliam. He's awesome. He'd get it. And we're already influenced enough by his work as is.”
Thom: “I wouldn't mind David O. Russell, Terry Gilliam or Hitchcock. But my choice would definitely be P. T. Anderson (the Magnolia one, not the Aliens vs. Predator one).”

Who is the best cook?
Dave: “Thom is the best cook.”
Humph: “I'm going to award this one to Thom.”
Thom: “At the risk of sounding arrogant, definitely me.”

Who are the nicest people you’ve met in comedy?
Humph: “Pappy's Fun Club, Pippa Evans, Dan Kitson, Josie Long.”
Thom: “Almost every sketch group is lovely. Something about having to work in a group anyway makes you open and smiley. Standups can be a diffident kettle of fish. Kitson's very nice, though.”
Dave: “Without wishing to name drop like a bitch, the uber-famous ones tend to all be incredibly lovely. Turns out money does buy you happiness. Who knew?”

What's the worst sketch you've ever written as a group?
Humph: “We did one at our first ever gig about a court that punished people for being stereotypes.”
Thom: “A joint first place between "Chalky Cox" and "Clockwork Frog".”
Dave: “It's a toss up between Clockwork Frog and Chalky Cox. My God they were both awful. I could describe them to you, but isn't it far more fun to imagine for yourselves?”

Monday, 23 March 2009

Unemployment is a game!

It seems as if the credit-crunch-fuelled rise in unemployment has led to people looking for new ways to experience the work day without actually earning any money.

Thank the sweet Lord, then, for this new Nintendo Wii game...

It's "Job Island: Hard Working People"! A job simulator! Brilliant!

Here's the plot: "The world is in danger! A huge meteor is plummeting towards earth and the only way to save the planet from destruction is to earn enough money to purchase the anti-meteor gadgets from a TV shopping channel!"

I shall be purchasing this forthwith. As soon as I get a job and can afford the £24.99!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Noostar Featured Video!

Well, that was speedy. Within hours of putting up the video of "New Boyfriend" on Noostar, they made it a staff pick. Thanks guys! How nice.

There I am! Top right!

Thursday, 12 March 2009


Hey, check it out! I'm on Noostar! It's part of "Bare Minimum" and all of "Ladyfood".

Now also, all of "Face Of My Fury".

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Wateracre / Girl & Dean / Adam Riches



7.30pm! (Both nights!)

I'm not feeling that well, but shall push on through regardless!

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Caviar Crunch

The wintry economic climate has hit Dulwich Village in South East London pretty hard.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Girl & Dean and Wateracre and Riches!

Very exciting shenanigans on Sunday 1st March (St David's Day) and Monday 2nd March (start of Week 10 of 2009), in that Girl and Dean and Chums is happening at the Hen & Chickens Theatre in Highbury Corner.

This is a very very early Edinburgh Preview, with Girl and Dean doing sketches, Tom Wateracre doing songs, special guest star Adam Riches doing some wondrous comedy, and the team bringing the delights of afternoon tea to the bedraggled masses of Islington!

It's an embarrassment of riches! (Although not an embarrassment of Riches. He shall emerge from this event unscathed.*)

More info on Facebook here, on the Hen & Chickens website here, and let us never forget that Girl & Dean's website is here.

Reserve tickets by calling 020 7704 2001, or book them online here!

Wow! Super-exciting! Come along!

* Unlike some other events I could mention...

Sunday, 22 February 2009

A Brief Break, for some Funk

Upstart Theatre Fundraiser - 21st March

Hello there. I'm taking part in the Upstart Theatre fundraiser at Arch 635 in Clapham on 21st March. Do come along!

Here's Tom from Upstart on what's going down...

Taking place at the magnificent Arch 635 just by Clapham North, we'll be bringing together some of London's finest musicians, comedians, DJs, playwrights and actors to raise funds for our compelling new season of theatre exploring the death of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Doors open at 8pm; admission will be £5 on the door.

Check the Upstart website for details of acts in the coming weeks!


On 22nd July 2005, Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by armed police as he sat on an Underground train at Stockwell station. Police claimed his clothing and behaviour marked him as a suspected suicide bomber; the inquest into his death found in December 2008 that he was an entirely innocent man.

This summer, Upstart will be producing a season of theatre work exploring the killing and its aftermath. This will include THE KRATOS EFFECT, a verbatim play by Sarah Beck based on interviews with campaigners, police officers, whistleblowers and many more; and OH WELL NEVER MIND BYE by Steven Lally, a compelling and darkly comic exploration of the media's response to the shooting.

More details on both plays are available at

Friday, 20 February 2009

Gigs! Cancellations! Looping! Lennox!

Hello everyone -

Goodness, I've been having fun lately, what with lovely Totally Looped shows in Epsom (snowy!), Bracknell (cute!), and High Wycombe (huge!). Favourite things so far:-

- The people of Epsom coming out despite Epsom being at the epicentre of Snowy Monday. We got there, no shit, by limousine, after British Rail decided there was a lot of wrong type of snow about.

- The people of Bracknell answering my question "Where would I take someone on a date?" with the answer "A Star Trek Convention!" Upon interrogation, it emerged that it was a Deep Space Nine convention, so I delighted in regaling the audience with some horrible name-dropping of Benjamin Sisko and Jadzia Dax.

- The people of High Wycombe deciding that I should be played, in the story of my life, by either David Tennant (very happy with this) or Joe 90 (less happy with this).

Sadly, I don't think I'm Looping on Sunday in Peterborough any more, due to a scheduling conflict, which leaves only one left in glittering NEWCASTLE! Where Venom come from!

I also had a big bunch of fun last night at the delightful Hourglass Cabaret. Hooray for Hourglass!

And finally, seriously, what the shit is this all about?

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Competition Entry

From the HSBC website:-


Because you took all my money in bank fees, and all my girlfriend is currently getting for Valentine's Day this year is a card made from dried pasta glued to sugar paper.

I look forward to your cheque.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

"Rollicking Good Songs" - The Kingston Guardian

A review of the Cornerhouse pantomime ("None O' Yer Messing About") is up at the Kingston Guardian website, with kind words for my songs.

Congratulations to all concerned!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Hey! It's the late addition to the Adam & Pippa Show!

Hi there -

I'm doing a last minute set at It's The Adam & Pippa Show tonight at Lowdown at the Albany.

Acts include Adam Riches (awesome!), Pippa Evans (super-awesome!), Jess Ransom (woah! awesome!), Ben Wilson (awesomer!), Cariad Lloyd (awesomation!), and perhaps some other people, who are guaranteed to also be awesome.

Doors open at 8pm!

Commence Looping!

Hey everyone -

And so Totally Looped has started, following last night's snowy and eventful show! Thanks to everyone who came out into the frosty Epsom evening.

Just to let those keen Essex bods know, I now won't be appearing in Southend. Sorry about that. Phill Jupitus is appearing instead. I trust this will be devastating to the people of that fine county.

There's a nice big article on Totally Looped in today's Independent. Click here to read it!

My next date is in Bracknell next week. Until then, I'm trying to stay warm. There should also be some new videos on YouTube before the end of the week.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Looped Bootcamp

[Or "Loopedcamp"? No, I don't think that works...]

This week sees training for Totally Looped. Not rehearsal, as that would imply foreknowledge of the clips that we will be dubbing. We don't have that luxury. Our only safety net is blind terror and audience goodwill.

It has been magical, terrifying, baffling and exciting. Today, I offered Hattie Hayridge a Twiglet. The other day, Marcus Brigstocke smacked Humphrey Ker from the Penny Dreadfuls with a rolled-up newspaper before even saying hello. This is the sort of entertainment that money cannot buy.

Except, it can! Tickets are still available for all shows, including the six I shall be performing at. Please do drop by and yell at us whilst we're on stage. (There are also some cheap tickets on

Those dates again:-

Monday 2 Feb - Epsom Playhouse (with Marcus Brigstocke, Pippa Evans and the Penny Dreadfuls) - link
Thursday 12 Feb - Bracknell South Hill Park (with Joe Liss and the Penny Dreadfuls) - link
Friday 13 Feb - Southend Palace (with Sanjeev Bhaskar, Pippa and Joe) - link
Saturday 14 Feb - Wycombe Swan (with Sanjeev, Pippa and Joe) - link
Sunday 22 Feb - Peterborough Key (with Hattie Hayridge, Joe and the Penny Dreadfuls) - link
Saturday 7 March - Newcastle Journal Tyne (with Marcus, Pippa and Joe) - link

Friday, 23 January 2009

Panto next week!

The Surbiton pantomime that I've written the songs for is next week. All songs are now up on YouTube, handily in order in this Playlist... (click left and right arrows to scroll through the videos)

The production is sold out, I believe, but I'll try to get some footage of the cast singing the songs this weekend!

(There's also a couple of new songs on the YouTube channel. Do subscribe and rate!)

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Presidential wonders!

Brave new world, and all that.

Why not celebrate it with the marvellous

I did!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Wateracre on the Oxfam Unwrapped DVD

Hello all -

Anyone who received a gift worth more than £50 from Oxfam Unwrapped over Christmas received a comedy DVD called "The Art Of Giving".

It featured Johnny Vegas, Justin Lee Collins, Richard Ayoade, Jenny Eclair, Meera Syal, and me.

I wrote a song specifically for it whilst in Edinburgh, and was filmed singing it whilst sitting in a tree, and then whilst wandering around a soggy Pleasance Courtyard with a very patient and forgiving umbrella-bearer in pursuit!

A photo of me also appeared on the back cover, nestling in between Milton Jones and Natasha Kaplinsky, a very nice place to nestle, for sure...

I'll post a re-recorded version of the song, "Give Give Give" on YouTube at some point, but if you received an expensive, ethical present for Christmas, do seek out my little song! It's at the end, over the credits.

Do buy presents from Oxfam Unwrapped! They're marvellous! My parents were given bees for Christmas. BEES!

Thanks to director Marcus Shepherd for asking me to take part!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Totally Looped dates featuring TW!

Hi there!

Excited to report that I'll be at the following Totally Looped dates:

Monday 2 Feb - Epsom Playhouse (with Marcus Brigstocke, Pippa Evans and the Penny Dreadfuls) - link
Thursday 12 Feb - Bracknell South Hill Park (with Joe Liss and the Penny Dreadfuls) - link
Friday 13 Feb - Southend Palace (with Sanjeev Bhaskar, Pippa and Joe) - link
Saturday 14 Feb - Wycombe Swan (with Sanjeev, Pippa and Joe) - link
Sunday 22 Feb - Peterborough Key (with Hattie Hayridge, Joe and the Penny Dreadfuls) - link
Saturday 7 March - Newcastle Journal Tyne (with Marcus, Pippa and Joe) - link

More information at the website.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Musical Comedy website

Hi there -

As well as my YouTube channel, I'm also going to put videos up on, alongside videos by Earl Okin and Jonni Music. My profile is here - do please view, rate and comment on my videos, if that's the sort of thing you do.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Tom is Totally Looped

Hello there -

Totally Looped is an American show pioneered by director Vince Waldron. The idea is: a bunch of comedians and improvisers redub old film clips live on stage. In America, they've had terrifyingly good people doing it. Dan Castellaneta being one.

Check out some clips of the US version!

And now, it's coming to the UK. Production maven Erica Fee has assembled a top-notch crew of comedians, including Phill Jupitus, Marcus Brigstocke, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Hattie Hayridge, Toby Hadoke, Pippa Evans, The Penny Dreadfuls (yay!), Natalie Haverstock, and me.


I'm thrilled, panicky, thrilled, and thrilled to be involved. A little nauseous.

The tour starts in glittering Epsom. EPSOM! It's practically a homecoming show for me! It then wends a leisurely path around the UK. I won't be in every show, so I'll let you know nearer the time which ones I'll be at, but if you're near any of the theatres below, do book up... it will be a great show, guaranteed!

There's also a Facebook group to join for updates!

2 February - Epsom Playhouse
5 February - Basingstoke Haymarket
6 February - Guildford Yvonne Arnaud
12 February - Bracknell South Hill Park
12 February - Brighton Theatre Royal
13 February - Southend Palace
14 February - Wycombe Swan
18 February - Bedford Corn Exchange
19 February - Reading Hexagon
20 February - Cheltenham Town Hall
21 February - Crawley Hawth
22 February - Peterborough Key
24 February - Worthing Pavilion
25 February - Buxton Opera House
26 February - The Lowry, Salford Quays
27 February - Wolverhampton Grand
1 March - Tunbridge Wells Assembly
4 March - Wakefield Theatre Royal
5 March - Portsmouth Southsea King's
7 March - Newcastle Journal Tyne
12 March - Victoria Hall, Stoke
15 March - Harlow Playhouse

The website of Tom Wateracre

About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Writer, Screenwriter. Born in the late Seventies. Likes marzipan.

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