We spoke to James from comedy trio Beasts, to find out how they’ll be competing for the Mr Bedfringe Crown.
You seem quite a sensitive bunch, there’s tiara’s and flowers?
James: You’ll notice we’re wearing sports gear, but then the tiaras and flowers are more reflective of a beauty pageant. It’s a competition between the three of us, there’s tests of strength, agility, beauty, grace – a little bit of everything really. We also thought that Owen looks particularly fetching in a tiara…the beard does set it off.
There’s going to be alot of sweat and hair, what else can we expect?
James: There will be definitely be hair and sweat. We even toyed with the idea of having a round where we have to decide who the sweatiest is. There’s going to be a talent competition, there’s going to be feats of physical endurance and stamina. The scores and the competition will be different every night, so the winner will determined on that night in Bedford. The ending will be directly influenced by who wins, a different ending depending on who comes out on top.
Tell me about the paddle chasing?
James: Yeah, there might be a paddle involved, there’s a misunderstanding someone acquires a load of S&M accessories and suddenly thinks they’re sports equipment, a quick joke which we do at the start of the show.
These three guys we play in the show are absolute cretins really. They’ve all got their own motivations to win; one of them is trying to change the world, one of them is trying to get over a trauma, like an X-Factor story, one of them just wants to win because he wants to be the best. They’ll do anything to try and outdo each-other, if that’s taking drugs, trying to bribe the judges, any kind of stupid length in order to prove they are the best.
You’ve been described as one straight man and two maniacs, would you agree with that?
James: If you broke it down like that, Owen would be characterized as the straight one, the other two maniacs. The thing is Owen’s character is a maniac too, he’s so controlling, so strained, and so stiff upper lipped, so controlled, he’s kind of mad in his own way. I think that’s the nice thing about the show, is that all three have got a screw lose that’s what makes it entertaining and dynamic.
Do you ever find yourselves saying something truthfully onstage?
James: You can catch yourself out, let yourself slip. The things you say that are true onstage are funnier than anything else – the audience can hear that. It’s that much more enriching of an experience for the audience. We did a show in January, I made a joke about Ciarán having a good Christmas because he’d put on weight – he was absolutely furious, but it got a good laugh.
What’s your writing process like?
James: Very rarely do we sit down and write a pure full script. If we do a few hours together, you might just get the kernel of the idea; you have to go through that process to separate the wheat from the chaff. We also improvise quite a lot of the show onstage and develop a lot of the show that way.
It can be a maddening process, when you’re banging your head against the wall trying to work out what would be funnier if you came on dressed as a duck or a goose. You end up having a big row about something as silly as that.
We have tons of swans but we don’t condone you using them..
James: One of the rounds in the competition is a swan taming round, where we claim we’re going to bring a swan on and tame it, obviously it never materialises because we have a real swan. I can’t promise we won’t grab one of yours…
Tickets, £8.50 – £9.50, Friday 29 July, 9pm, Bedfringe Festival, The Studio At The Quarry Theatre