This week is Halloween so there was only one improv troupe I wanted to talk to as they have the horror title in their name. Since it is the season for all things scary, Fright Club have not one but two shows this week. I caught up with Liam Brennan to find out all about them.
Hello Liam Tell us about who you are?
Fright Club is a horror-comedy collective made up of Tony Harris, Mark Rawle, Katy Schutte and myself. We specialise in improvising horror movies on stage and are currently working on a few short films.
How did Fright Club form?
Mark, Tony and I met in 2013 when we auditioned for a long-form group coached by Chris Mead that would become ‘The Science of Living Things’. When experimenting with show ideas, Tony came up with the show format ‘Countdown to Doom’ which we started workshopping separately.
Every ‘Doom’ show would involve us creating characters and the world they inhabit before throwing an apocalyptic event at them. This is where the true horror would start, the remainder of the show was only lit by torches while characters the audience had come to know were killed off. It was such a fun show, it was totally different from everything else happening in London and we had some truly scary shows.
After a number of years, we rebranded as Fright Club and began creating more formats to explore more avenues with our improvised horror stories.
Tell us a little bit about the show that is happening this week?
This week, Fright Club presents: The Campfire! Horror and comedy collide as a group of friends tell spooky stories around the campfire, but the most terrifying tale of all might just be the one they’re in… You will laugh, you will cry and you might even need to bring spare underwear.
Performances this week will be held at The Unrestricted View Film Festival Hen on Tuesday 30th and as part of Ladyprov presents: at Hoopla Impro on Wednesday 31st.
Have their been any moments when you have all been scared?
A month ago we went for a camping trip together (for real, not on stage). We sat around a campfire, creeping each other out with spooky stories by campfire before spending the night in the woods. However, spending the afternoon before sharing a kayak with Mark was definitely the most terrifying part of that weekend.
One time during a show, Tony’s character was driven to throw himself from a clock tower and he ‘fell’ offstage backwards as the tech did a blackout. That got a great audible gasp from the audience and scared Mark and I half to death.
With Festival Season just finished what are some of your favourite shows you saw and why?
In all honesty I took the summer off away from comedy and watching shows. While I have a great passion for shows and the arts, it’s so important to get perspective and do stuff away from the stage.
So instead I’m going to recommend Fuerteventura, Amsterdam and Nearly Wild camping (makes the campfire trip sound a little less spooky doesn’t it?).
What advice would you give for people thinking about starting an improv troupe?
Message people that you like working with, find a space (a living room will do) and play. Long discussions to try to get the ‘perfect start’ for an improv group are tempting but ultimately 90% longer than they need to be. Just do it!
What is the best thing for an audience seeing Fright Club?
We love the fact that we get a mixture of laughs and gasps from our audience. Horror and comedy blend together so well in the way that they can both create and pierce tension. Treading the line between them is great fun and so satisfying.
If People want to find out more where can they find you on Social Media?
@FrightClubComedy on Facebook.
Finally In 3 words why should people see your show?
Laughs + Gasps = Magic
QUICK FIRE ROUND
If you could be any animal what would you be?
Cat as they have such chilled out lives.
Favourite super hero?
Batman, badass with a moral compass.
If there was a movie made about you, who would play you and what genre would it be?
I’d rather be an anime character in a long running weekly series. Would like to be voiced by one of those badass Japanese VAs that make their living playing dozens of characters.
If you could go a anywhere in the world where eould you visit?
Japan, cool culture where East meets West.
What is one item you could never live without?
My phone, otherwise I’d never get any bookings for work.
Last time you laughed very hard out loud?
I laugh very hard out loud all the time, I can’t really peg the last time. Either the last Fright Club rehearsal, the last improv class I taught or when I was at the pub with my mates. My family are pretty funny too. Lame answer but this is all true.
What is your favourite movie quote?
I don’t have a good mind for movie quotes so instead I’ll say ‘The master has failed more times than the student has tried’.