Funny At The Fringe – INTERVIEW – Bendy House Improv

It is festival season and that means that in the next month there is so many great comedy festivals to look forward to! This month we are talking to acts performing at an array of festivals to find out more about their sets and what they have planned for their shows. Today we look at an improv troupe called Bendy House that have only been together for 18 months and a long form duo who give out free biscuits at their shows! I sat down with the troupe to find out all about this years set.

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 15.22.04Name Of Show: Bendy House Improv

Time: 16:20

Date:  August 13th-26th

Location:  Sweet Novotel (Venue 188 )

 Hello! Tell us about Bendy House?

​Bendy House is a long form improv duo featuring Chris Read and Danny O’Hara. We’ve been performing together for about 18 months and this will be our second Edinburgh. We also run Dogface Improv, an improv company based in Norwich AND we give out free biscuits at our shows.​

How did you come up with the name of your show that your taking to the Fringe?

​Ha, naming things is so hard! The show name is just that of our team + it took a lot of agonising and coming up with REALLY bad names to eventually settle on Bendy House. We wanted something catchy and non-pretentious. We were very nearly called “The naked I’s” – I think we dodged a bullet there​ quite frankly.​

Tell us a little bit about your style of improv?

We love a mix of slow burn grounded improv and shorter and punchier scenes. We’re sometimes quite naturalistic, then sometimes a bit surreal. We’re huge fans of TJ and Dave – it’s them that inspired us to start Bendy House, so quite often in a show you will get a 15-20 minute scene ​which is very grounded in reality and perhaps we’ll jump in and out of multiple characters (including ones the other person has set up) – but then between those there might be runs of 30 second sillier scenes.

What will your set be about?

​We never know. We take a word at the beginning and go from there. We’re both fascinated by little fleeting moments of life – connection or energy between people – the small social interactions, or things like awkwardness. Chris is a big fan of the weird energy you find in awkwardness​!​

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe?

​So many. There’s always a ton of great improv at the fringe​. Bumper Blyton is a really fun show, I’m intrigued by “Shhh” the improvised silent movie, so will try to catch that. I love the Free Association, so will try to get to Jacuzzi. Non improv-wise, I’ll be keen to catch Mat Ewins, Gareth Richards, some clowning and lots of random things. Danny is excited about seeing new theatre and some wacky, surreal shows.  A nice thing about our show being done by tea-time is that we get the evenings to roam around and see what we find.

Have you done the fringe before? What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?

​We did the fringe as performers together,  for the first time last year and as punters the year before that Danny actually performed at the Fringe 20 years ago!!!

Some stand-outs have been Jo Neary – an amazing character ​performer, we’re sad she’s not there this year. Brickhead: Yeah Yeah Yeah? – clowning of the highest order, what a terrific show.

Some acts have already tried it and done shows in the environment  but do You think virtual reality has a space to be used in improv and what other modern technologies do you think could alter the way we interact and watch improv?

Well Chris is a massive geek, a computer programmer by day so he’s constantly trying to put technology in shows. We do a short form battle show in Norwich where the audience submit their suggestions through their phone and vote on their phones after each game for which team they liked the best – we’re hoping to bring this to the fringe in 2019. We also have plans to develop this further and create a long form show where audiences can control what happens by voting on their phones – kind of like a “Choose your own adventure” book. VR is an interesting possibility, Chris will no doubt buy some VR kit at some point – he likes shiny new toys.  Danny is less of a geek, but humours Chris.

What have been some of the most unique and different improv sets you have seen this year and why?

We’ve seen some great sets this year. We had the lovely “Buffet” come to Norwich and perform at our monthly long form night  – they have an interesting format that combines both short and long form. Another great group are “Charm and Strange”, who we were lucky enough to share a stage with at the Nursery.

If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?

And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?

Get ​free biscuits​


Best thing about performing at the fringe?

​the insanity of doing a show every day!​

The most challenging thing about performing at the fringe?

​the insanity of doing a show every day!​

What three items are essential for a successful Fringe?

decent shoes, ​sun hat, jacket with multiple pockets!

What’s the secret to successful flyering?

be charming, strike up a chat with people and be genuinely interested about ​how their fringe is going. Be genuine.

What are the best venue’s at the fringe?

​Sweet Venues! (we’re biased, but they are great)​



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