INTERVIEW: Foolish Bandits Bring Cast Vs Crew to Buxton Fringe Festival 2021

This month has been a really busy one for the Sheffield based improv troupe Foolosh Bandits as they have been performing lots of shows at the Buxton Fringe Festival. If you didn’t get a chance to see them earlier this week there is still time as they are playing the Old Clubhouse in Buxton on Friday 23rd July, 10:30PM and Saturday 24th July, 5:30PM. The tickets are £6-8 and be purchased by clicking here . I caught up with the team to find out all about what they have in store.

Hello Foolish Bandits  tell us all about who you all are and three unknown facts about your troupe!

Hello Phoenix Remix! We are a group of young people looking to tell the world the fairytales it loves in a way they never asked for! The cast tell the stories whilst the crew change what is happening on stage using sounds, lights and props! The result; a chaotic high octane 45 minute show where anything can happen!! As for three unknown facts, have these:

  1. Our favourite show moment was when a  witch causes a traffic jam on the m1 with an out of tune violin
  2. The weirdest show suggestion we ever got was the “Meghan and Harry Story”
  3. Our most common suggestion is Hansel and Gretel

How did your troupe form?

We all met at university and were part of a show with the Light Entertainment Society. We were all involved with a show where Ed was manning the sound. He decided it would be a great idea to play a completely random sound in the middle of one of our performances! After the show we all joked with him saying “You’re the tech guy, you’re not supposed to be the funny one”. Matt then out of nowhere says “But what if he was?” and the troupe was born!

How did you come up with the name of your troupe? Was it difficult?

Joe came up with it on the way to Morrisons. We wish there was more to it but he pulled the perfect name for our company out of thin air!

How did you get into improv?

Mainly through university. The roots of Foolish Bandits can be traced to Sheffield University’s Improvised Comedy Society (The Shrimps) and Light Entertainment Society (USLES).

How has the last year in lockdown been for you?

About as good as it can be for 7 people who rely on the theatre scene to do all their socialising. We’ve managed to put out a bit of content toward the start of lockdown in our “CVC versus lockdown” videos but it became a bit tricky to keep that going for a mix of reasons. Needless to say, we are so glad that we aren’t trapped in our houses anymore!

Have you managed to do many online shows?

We jumped the gun! CVC versus lockdown was our attempt to keep the ball rolling. Its free and still available to watch on our page but it felt a bit empty without the lights and sound!

And now you are returning to the stage!!! How exciting! What are you looking forward to the most?

As cheesy and predictable as this answer is, we cannot wait to have an audience again. The responses the audience gives you are an indication of whether what you’re doing is actually good, and it’s nice to have that reassurance. Other than that, the idea that Matt and Josh can say lines to each other without a 5 second lag delay is very appealing. 

How are you adapting to social distancing rules?

Being a small company we luckily don’t have to lose anyone from the cast or crew as one of us is always in the light box or the sound mixer etc. We’re a group but in a show we’re very spread out. Other than that we have fewer audience members and we’ll try not to touch each other too often. 

Tell us a little bit about the show that are happening this week? 

 Our show is part of a larger festival, The Buxton Fringe. There are all sorts of incredible people performing from the worlds of theatre, music, spoken word, art, and many more. Our show in particular is Cast Versus Crew and it’s exactly what the name implies. The cast are trying to tell the story in 45 minutes and the crew are doing whatever they can to stop them using a mixture of lights, sounds and props. It’s always close, and maybe the crew can get their first win this year! We greatly encourage any readers to see some of the other shows though, they look VERY exciting.

What three things are you looking forward to about performing in this show?

  1. We’re back at Buxton. We’ve done a lot of shows around the UK but there’s something about Buxton we can’t help but love. It has a special place in our hearts and we can’t wait to be back.
  2. Actually being on a stage/ in front of a tech desk. You miss it, and performing silly sketches in your bedroom just isn’t the same.
  3. Seeing people (hopefully) smile! That’s one thing you can’t recreate online is the smile you get from a happy audience. Well, you can but it’s a bit 2d…

How do you warm up before a show? 

We have a game called zip zap boing to get our energy up, and a game called mind meld to get us onto the same page mentally. Other than that it’s hype, adrenaline and enthusiasm all the way!

What have been some of your favourite shows you have been a part of  before  and why?

It depends who you ask! We’ve all been involved in many different shows and companies at various points in our lives. We can’t get enough of anything theatre based. As a group though I’d probably say this one! The bond we share as friends and performers is exceptional and unbreakable, and that is incredibly valuable!

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

Our main haunt is our facebook page @foolishbandits! We also have an instagram if you like looking at silly pictures! 

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

Pure Organised Chaos

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