Harry Peacock and Dan Skinner discuss adapting their hit podcast for the Menier's new stage
The pair will open a new space at the iconic south London venue
Making the transition from podcasting to staging theatre is seemingly à la mode – with Danny Robins heading to the stage with 2:22 – A Ghost Story from next week, while in October, audiences can see Harry Peacock and Dan Skinner's Brian and Roger – A Highly Offensive Play open a new "Mixing Room" space at the Menier Chocolate Factory. With tickets on sale this week, the pair gave us a low-down of what's in store.
1) How is the transition from podcast to live theatre set to work?
Well we're trying to keep the essence of the podcast and bring that to the live show. The beauty of the thing is that as in the podcast, the stage show deals largely with the fallout from the appalling things that Brian ropes Roger in to doing. So the action often takes place off stage and the beauty is in how the characters discuss what is about to happen or what has happened and it's their reaction to that that we really explore. It's mostly about the two characters rather dysfunctional and co dependant relationship.
2) What does having a new, live audience every night offer for you as performers and writers?
The great thing about the podcast is that we know people find it funny or moving or both and we feel the same way about it, but we don't actually know which bits people find funny or moving. We make it and put it out there and hope for the best, but a live audience will hopefully allow us to see which aspects of it do what to the viewing public. As a piece of work we have an idea about how we want it to come across but we don't know if the listening audience are responding to the same thing we're responding to. A live audience will show us and hopefully the audience will respond to different things every night. The characters, we hope are fairly three dimensional and it'll be interesting to see on any given night which aspect of their characters that an audience might respond to.
3) And you're opening a new Menier space! That must feel exciting...
It's incredibly exciting! When David asked us if we'd be interested in performing it at the Menier, we didn't give it a second thought. It has such a brilliant reputation and we knew that if anywhere could do it justice it would be there. To be opening a new space there is a cherry on top. It couldn't be more perfect for what we want to do.
4) Why do you think the podcast struck a chord with so many people?
It's really hard to say. We make something that we think is genuinely funny. It's not something we think about and decide if it's funny in our heads, we think it's funny because we laugh at it. The tragedy is sort of baked into it as well. I think there's probably an element of ‘well my life is sometimes difficult but it's nothing like Roger's thank God'. The amount of tweets I receive that simply say ‘poor Roger' or ‘Brian is a s***' is quite astonishing.
5) Will the show work differently for podcast fans as well as Brian & Roger novices?
Well it's a show of two halves. We do a bit of heavy lifting in the first half where we set things up a bit for those unfamiliar with the podcast. The beauty of the stage show is that we can also do this with visuals, set, costume, lighting etcs. We hope we've made the set up funny, so it's not just like reading the opening chapters of a dull book. And then the second half we take off a bit more on some serious adventures. We've gone for something EPIC! We're gonna have a blast performing it. I hope people really love it.