INTERVIEW: Banana Hut Gang Return To The Stage

This week if you are heading for a laugh then there is one place that you need to go – Golden Goose Theatre in Camberwell New Road. The Banana Hut Gang return to the stage this month to bring their sold out Edinburgh Fringe show Choose Your Own Adventure back to the stage. They are there tomorrow (23rd) and Wednesday (24th) and you can grab your tickets here. I caught up with the group to find out all about what they have in store and about playing the iconic Canal Cafe earlier in the month!

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

LC: 1) One of us has recently moved to Bristol 2) One of us has recently had a baby 3) One of us spent lockdown in Northern Ireland

How did your troupe form?

LC: Chris and Alex started an improv drop in on a Friday night through Sedos, the theatre group that we are all part of. The seven of us became drop in regulars and decided to design an improv show to take up to Edinburgh Fringe and thus the Banana Hut Gang was born.

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

LC: Yes, there was an evening spent brainstorming, saying random words and hoping that something would stick. We eventually were completely decided that we were going to be called ‘Unreasonable Enthusiasm’. We then all went away, slept on it and decided that was a terrible idea. Our rehearsal space at the time was called BHG and we had started affectionately calling it the Banana Hut. So in honour of the Banana Hut we became the Banana Hut Gang.

How did the show come about?

AM: We loved long form narrative, but as an audience member you can often feel left out of the performance. You get asked for a suggestion at the start, and often that’s it. We knew that we wanted to keep the audience at the centre of our show – what better way to do it than have them make the big decisions at pivotal moments of the show?

How did you get into improv?

LC: All of us were drawn to improv separately, but fortuitously at the same time! It’s fate that brought us together! For me personally I started improv-ing outside the pub one night with Alex, Jess and Sam. Alex had been to an improv course and loved it so started to drunkenly teach us some improv games in the street!

Tell us a little bit about the shows that are happening this month? 

LC: After lockdown we were all really excited to be back out performing in front of live audiences again so we decided to get ourselves back out there as soon as venues would have us! We’ve been wanting to perform at the Canal Cafe for a while (and actually had a show booked in for April 2020 which obviously didn’t end up happening) and earlier this month we were able to! We were super excited to be showing off there!

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

  1. We’ve been performing together for just over 3 years now and we’re now super comfortable with each other. So it’s really fun now to push each other’s buttons and try and do something that you know is going to make someone squirm!
  2. Just performing the show – we love doing it and it’s so great getting to show it to new people. Audiences are always super impressed by our show!
  3. Drinking in the bar afterwards! The bar at the Golden Goose is really cheap, fyi!

It is the month of November! With December around the corner, What is your advice for Christmas shows?

Alex: Keep it dirty 

How do you warm up before a show? 

LC: We like to play a game called ‘where do the fingers go’. It’s much more fun if I leave what that game involves to the imagination!

How do you wind down?

Alex: Post performance we have a ritual of going round and everyone gives a ‘favourite bit’ and an ‘even better if’.  It’s been super useful as it helps to pat each other on the back, but also to question how we can be better. 

What have been some of the best suggestions that you have been given in a show and why?

Alex: I think the best suggestion we’ve ever got for a show was in Edinburgh we were given ‘Biblical’ as a genre.  It wasn’t something we had ever done before – and for some reason none of us felt we could ignore it.  It turned out to be absolutely hilarious and one of our best shows.  `We were def pushed out of our comfort zone!

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

Alex: We are @bananahutgang on FB/Insta/Twitter all the big-uns.

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

Alex: Raucous Fun Screaming

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