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Ridiculusmus: 10 things you didn't know

Find out a little more about the madcap theatre company

Die! Die! Die! Old People Die! By Ridiculusmus
© Bryony Jackson

David Woods and Jon Haynes, aka Ridiculusmus, have been making testing, funny, oddball work for over 25 years. They return to Battersea Arts Centre in May with the provocatively titled Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!, which is a study of ageing, death and the forgotten art of grieving. To celebrate their return, here's ten things you probably didn't know about them.

1. Their name is Latin (and quite weird)

The company's name is a quote from the Roman poet Horace: "Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus", which means: "The mountains will crack open and out will pop a little mouse."

2. They were never meant to perform at Battersea Arts Centre

The company's relationship with Battersea Arts Centre began when Ridiculusmus claimed that Paul Blackman, BAC's then artistic director, had programmed their show. He hadn't but when he heard the rumour, he put it on anyway

3. They like to sleep in weird places

They have slept on the bank of the Thames (wrapped in bubble-wrap), beneath a stairwell in a Finnish Arts Centre, in a hut (with a bat) in Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu) and on a piece of foam on a table top in an old corn mill in East Belfast

4. Not everyone likes them

They once entered a talent contest in Worthing and were booed on and slow-hand clapped off

5. They will do anything for audiences...

Jon once dived into a brook at the behest of the audience in Dorset and narrowly escaped contracting Weil's Disease

6. ...Really, anything

They have cracked ribs, broken ankles, suffered collapsed lungs and developed Bell's Palsy in the course of presenting entertainment

David Woods in Ridiculusmus' Give Me Your Love
© Sarah Walker

7. Their sets are deceptive

The cardboard set for 2015's Give Me Your Love was thrown away by the cleaners at Arts House, Melbourne

8. There have been tragedies

The company lost everything except one box of filing in the 2015 fire at Battersea Arts Centre

9. Lawyers are frequently after them

An audience member once tried to sue a theatre for hosting a Ridiculusmus performance during which one of the actors spilled some water on his Austin Reed suit. His solicitor said that "his experience at the hands of Ridiculusmus has discouraged him from ever attending a theatre again"

10. They like to surprise you

The Ridiculusmus performance that was seen by the most people took place on a roundabout