With the new year among us here at The Phoenix Remix we like to introduce you to acts that you must watch in 2018. Today we speak to an improviser who is not just performing in shows but writing them as well! Today we talk to a guy that you should really watch out for in 2018 as he is reaching for the improvisation stars! Today we talk of jack of all trades Brendan Way.
Hello Brendan. So 2017 has been a big year The Parentheticals how has it been for you?
Well, I certainly can’t say it’s been quiet! I started the year by deciding to prioritise my favourite teams and people. So I dropped a few social commitments. I only pursued one writing project (my sitcom, Dead Drunk Detective). The Parentheticals took on our spinoff team’s format – our narrative quest show, Improdyssey – so that gave me one extra night a week when I wasn’t doing improv.
That didn’t last. I’m now doing three nights of improv in a row and my one evening off between that and my weekend of bar work is usually spent at a show. I’m doing what I love though, so I can’t complain.
What’s been some of the highlights of the show for 2017?
The first day of The Parentheticals’ Camden Fringe show was magical. Thanks to a combination of excitement and nerves, we had an amazing energy. We were so in touch with each other. We were patient. No offer was missed or denied. It was without a doubt one of the best shows we have ever done. And critics thought so too – we got a five-star review from a guy who used to be in Grange Hill.
You do a lot of different shows away from your group as well what are some of your favourites?
I like them all! I had a blast guesting on improvised sketch show podcast Numskull Island (I’m particularly proud of my work on episode twelve). Working on Dead Drunk Detective is always rewarding. However, my favourite show I did this year (and this may end up being the most enjoyable gig of my entire improv career) was with DuckDuckTales.
DuckDuckTales is the house team of Duck Duck Goose. We play a Choose Your Own Adventure within a genre or style chosen by the audience. On the night of the show in question, the prompt was ‘Harry Potter fan fiction’.
I have never been more excited about a suggestion. Now I’m not necessarily a massive Potterhead – no, I was into reading way before Rowling made it cool – but the specificity of that callout, that niche subgenre, sparked something in me. It energised me. I was suddenly so keen to play!
I took the figurative reins and rode that show like a man possessed. I snogged Hagrid, flew on a broom whilst wanking, and played Deal or No Deal. And it was so. Much. Fun.
If people want to get involved with the show Duck Duck Goose how do they go about it?
What, Duck Duck Goose, the weekly improv show in Brixton that I co-host on Monday nights? Just turn up! You don’t have to sign up in advance and it’s free to get in.
If you want to jam, tell us your name and it will go in our bucket. We’ll then call you up to join in a montage and do a quick two-person scene. Not only are these fun, but they’re a great way to find potential teammates. Both Ramshackle and Other People’s Children formed after meeting at our show.
What are the plans for The Parentheticals in 2018?
For our first time ever, we’re going to play at the Brighton Fringe! And we’ll be at Camden Fringe for our third year in a row. After those, we might consider tackling the greatest Fringe of them all…
We’ve also got Bracket Rackets booked up until November.
What does the year of 2018 hold for the improv community? What do you think will be big changes that will alter improv for 2019?
Even more diversity. All the major London schools and shows now actively reach out to minority groups via scholarship programmes and distinct classes and shows. Zeal Improv Festival annually celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community, Nu Z Land is an exciting new team and show featuring only BAME improvisers, and all-female team 20% Less host monthly women-centric night Word of Muff. There will be even more players, teams, workshops and events that push beyond the white, middle-class, non-disabled, cis-gendered or heteronormative. It’s a very exciting time in UK improv. I’m psyched.
QUICK FIRE ROUND
* What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2018?
Try more things (in both improv and in general).
* What act are you looking forward to seeing this year?
Puppet improv duo Bark and B. I’ve seen them a bunch and I want to see more.
* Who would you like to collaborate on a show with this year and why?
A load of my classmates from the Katy Schutte improv course I’m doing now. It will be exhilarating to play with new people.
* In three words what do you wish 2018 does for you?
Provide exciting collaborations.
* Where do you see your show in a year’s time?
I think, in Improdyssey, The Parentheticals have finally found the format that suits us best. So, we’ll work on that in 2018. We’ll aim to make our quests stronger, longer, and smarter.
As for Dead Drunk Detective, I’m not sure. The show is very much my baby, but the birth of the second series was far too recent for me to contemplate making another one any time soon.