This month is a fantastic one of The Phoenix Remix, as we are interviewing a duo whose show debuted at Brighton Fringe. Meet The Bean Spillers, Sam and Alex, a musical improv show that works by using a single piece of gossip to create an improvised narrative. Today I speak to Sam and Alex about Gigglemug theatre and the new show RuneSical .
How did you both get into improv?
We both did youth theatre together when we were younger and performed in 2 musicals a year, which definitely helped when beginning to make them up on the spot! It felt like a logical next step at uni to go from performing in lots of musicals growing up to starting to improvise them, so that was very much both of our routes in. Also, we have been very lucky with the incredible guests we’ve had so far – we learn loads just from performing a single show with them!
Hello how long have you been improvising?
We both did improvised musicals at university, starting around 5 years ago, but only got properly back into it about a year ago with the start of this project!
What is your favourite style of improv and why?
We have to say musical improv, don’t we? We love the extra layer that having improvised songs and musical tropes gives the show, but also like watching all sorts from short form to Harolds – anyone doing something a little bit different is always great!
Who are your top 5 favourite improvisers and why?
& Pippa Evans
…they’re all just really good, aren’t they?
What are some of your favourite new acts you have come across this year and why?
Not really sure if these acts are new or just new to us, but HELL YEAH and These Folk – HELL YEAH for unbridled comedy and energy, These Folk for calm, magical storytelling that draws you in.
How would you describe your personal sort of improv?
Alex: I think it’s a balancing act, because you notice that you tend to do one sort of thing so then you try and do more of something else towards an ideal of being an all-round balanced performer! So it’s a constant recalibrating and learning new approaches and skills for me!
Sam: I think my improv is sort of a mish-mash of things I take from the improvisers I really admire – whenever we get a guest involved I take it as an opportunity to get an hour-long masterclass with them and soak up their wisdom in the hope of one day matching their improv sorcery!
What is your favourite warm up game?
‘Hey, Fred Schneider!’
Favourite short form game?
‘Move On, Keep’ and ‘Pan Left’ – if it ain’t broke!
Your show The Bean Spillers is all about Gossip, what is the best piece that you have used for a scene?
Someone’s great uncle was murdered by his best friend for winning £80 at the bingo?!
Has there been any that have made you cringe when you have been told them?
Yes… the first piece of gossip we ever heard from an audience member and, for your readers’ sakes, we shall not repeat it here.
It takes place in the fantasy realm of Gielinor where audiences get the chance to guide our brave band of adventurers on a quest to defeat the mighty Mirror Dragon!The Bean Spillers
Have any been hard to perform?
We tend to avoid celebrity-based gossip as that relies somewhat on doing impressions (which isn’t exactly our forte!)
You do musical parts to your show – what is your favourite part about performing improvised song?
When you come up with a kick-ass chorus which everyone immediately locks onto and you belt it out together (sometimes encouraging the audience to sing along too!)
Tell us about your company Gigglemug?
Gigglemug Theatre began its life in 2018 when we took our debut show ‘Timpson: The Musical’ to the Edinburgh Fringe. Our goal is to create seriously silly musicals and tour them across the UK, we want to give audiences a chance to let their hair down and enjoy an hour of complete escapism!
Tell us about the show RuneSical?
RuneSical is our other project, a parody musical based on the online game RuneScape. It takes place in the fantasy realm of Gielinor where audiences get the chance to guide our brave band of adventurers on a quest to defeat the mighty Mirror Dragon!
If people want to help crowdfund it, where can they go?
There are loads of RuneSical (and Bean Spillers!) related prizes on our crowdfunder
Anything you can donate would be a huge help!