Birmingham Stage Company


24 July 2021

Once again we’ve begun performing a brand new comedy and despite all the work we did in rehearsals, it’s only with an audience that we’re learning how to do it. The first performance is always terrifying as you literally have no idea how the public will respond. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be a stand-up, alone on stage. At least I have the amazing Morgan Philpott to bounce around with. Almost immediately, what we’ve done throughout weeks of rehearsal changes, sometimes dramatically, as we feel your way through a scene. And it always makes total sense: Barmy Britain appears to be a two-hander, but it’s a three-hander – and it’s only when we are in front of an audience do you realise they are an essential part of the conversation. Bringing the audience into each scene fills the missing piece of the puzzle. Nothing in rehearsal can replicate the sensation of an audience, because it’s only when you bring a group of strangers together that you create that unique experience. It’s why I am so uninterested in theatrical screenings – because you cannot have a conversation with an audience that isn’t there: live conversation is the whole point of theatre. It’s what makes it unique. And the chance to try out the show at Bridlington Spa is heavenly – it’s truly one of the best theatres ever built. Next week we’re at the Apollo, probably the best playhouse in London – and we can’t wait!

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