Friday, 12 May 2017

Curse of the Dramaturgy: Sam Dunham @ Edfringe 2017

Curse of the Mummy

Just the Tonic (Big Cave), 12 Niddry Street South, Edinburgh, EH1 1NS

Thursday 3rd – Saturday 26th August 2017 (not 14th), 19:30

From the creators of smash hits, Dracula: Sex, Sucking and Stardom and Frankenstein: UnBolted, comes a tale from the darkest depths of Ancient Egypt. 

Unwitting hero, Montana Jones, is on a quest for archaeological eminence; however a love-cursed Mummy and a Nazi spy threaten to destroy everything he hopes for! This ancient legend is unwrapped, revitalised and whipped up with mischievous musical mash-ups and outrageous humour in a frenetic hour of riotous theatre comedy.

Using both shockingly catchy pop songs and obscure 80s ballads combined with an intriguing interpretation of world history, Last Chance Saloon takes us on a whirlwind adventure. As Sam Dunham, Jack Faires and Jack Gogarty play a huge array characters in the course of one hour, they will have audiences crying out for more.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

We love making people laugh and that’s our primary aim. We want people to be swept away for an hour, to forget any troubles or worries they may have and be transported to a place where they can laugh. I think we’re all in need of a little escapism every now and then and that’s what we try and do.

Is performance still a good space for the public
discussion of ideas?

Ah that sounds like one of those intellectual questions.  Ask The Stage, ask The Guardian, ask anyone else. We’re just creating theatre for people to enjoy.

How did you become interested in making performance?

We started writing our first show because no one wanted to employ us! We were sick of waiting around for an audition to come in so we decided to give ourselves a job instead. It also meant that we could create the exact type of work that we wanted to be in ourselves. We hoped that because we enjoyed the process of creating it, the audience would feel the same and so far that fortunately seems to have been the case.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

We started off ‘winging it’ really but as we’ve written more shows we’ve come up with a formulae that seems to work. We write the show and then have a read through, see what works and what doesn’t sound right. Throw some ideas around then do a couple more re writes and then workshop some of the more physical routines or scenes. 

We then have a rehearsal period where we tend to rip up the script and start again! We think it’s important to start rehearsals with a structure to our story but we’re not precious with the writing. We love playing and devising and if in rehearsal something comes out that’s better than what we wrote then we’ll put it in!

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

I think you’ll have to ask the audience! But yes it’s full of slapstick routines, musical parodies, slick, lightning fast action and hopefully lots of fun. And we've stuck roughly to a theme of Gothic Horror Stories after Dracula and Frankenstein.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

There’s a lot of great stand-up comedians out there and there’s a lot of great sketch groups too. 

We think there aren’t that many great comic theatre companies that take audiences on an emotionally and funny rollercoaster. No matter what is going on in people’s lives we want them to forget about their worries and troubles and come out of the theatre with a smile on their face and their spirits uplifted.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I think when you put it like that it seems to be a very conscious and tactical thing. If we enjoy writing the show, if we laugh at the jokes and routines we do in rehearsals then we’re pretty confident our audience will enjoy it too. 

We’re huge fans of Chaplin, Keaton, Monty Python and League of Gentlemen to name a few so although we don’t copy their techniques we do draw on their jokes and style for inspiration. If we see something, be it a sketch, a scene in a film, or even a cartoon that we like, we enjoy playing with how a version of it could work in our story.

Last Chance Saloon is a collaborative comic theatre company who specialise in twisting classic tales, whilst infusing them with their unique brand of character-based comedy. Giving a nod to the golden age of British humour, mixed with farcical physical comedy and quirky musical parody, their aim is to allow audiences to escape from the doom and gloom of everyday life into a world of pure unadulterated enjoyment.

Director Simon Egerton comments, I’m really happy to be working with the guys again on what will be our 4th show together. The rehearsal process is always particularly fun as the script is never seen as sacrosanct but just a starting point for the show we create. Ideas are thrown in, flipped around and transformed to make the show a melting pot of organised chaos that leaves the audience crying with laughter and gasping for breath. I sometimes wish we had a longer time slot to fit more musical numbers, vaudeville routines and exotic dance numbers in!

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