The Arcola Tent is a recently opened 400-seater venue from the hugely respected Arcola Theatre. The space is their newest venture and is being touted as a fantastic new place for comedy and cabaret to strut their respective stuff. To kick off their comedy agenda, and to display the clout they carry in theatrical circles, they are pulling together a night of comedy hosted by sketch trio The Real MacGuffins on the 22nd October. Accompanying the ringmasters are a selection of the top comedy acts from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011, including the Edinburgh Comedy Award (formerly the Perrier Award) winner Adam Riches alongside fellow nominee Andrew Maxwell as well as the 2011 Amused Moose Laughter Award winner Tony Law with many others. Good lineup, that. And I haven't even mentioned the circus performers. That's right. Circus performers.
In preparation for the big night, as is common now among the show business circles, The Real MacGuffins are being thrust at everyone their agents can find and I was lucky enough to be numbered among the throng. I sent them a set of questions and awaited their responses with bated breath. Here is what happened next...
For those people who don't know The Real MacGuffins, how would you introduce yourselves?
“Hello, how do you do? We're The Real MacGuffins, we're a sketch trio!” followed by a firm handshake and good eye contact (except Matt, who starts crying when he meets strangers).
We're Dan March, Jim Millard and Matt Sheahan (in alphabetical order...and coincidentally it’s also the same order of talent, good looks, natural charm and answering interview questions).
Where do you come from and where are you going?
Jim comes from a classically trained background, Dan from the stand-up circuit and Matt from a small cardboard box we found round the back of Euston Station. We’re definitely going places – well for a start, Matt's going back in his box.
What do you bring to the stage and what about you is different or standout?
Dan says we bring "insanely witty writing" (* * * * * Three Weeks), sketches that are "brilliantly well-crafted" (* * * * Chortle) and "hysterically funny...utterly inspired"(* * * * Fest), Jim says Dan brings about 12 pints of human sweat to the stage and Matt doesn't say anything 'cos he's too busy making us tea. One sugar, yeah, Matt? Good lad.
How do you feel about being involved with the new Arcola Tent venue?
Dan hasn't been this excited about performing in a tent since he went camping with his French exchange partner, Celine, when he was 14. It’s a great space that naturally lends itself to creating a different kind of comedy night, which is why we came up with the idea of a 'Circus of Comedy'.
Are you looking forward to sharing a stage with the rest of the running order?
We can't wait! We've gigged a lot with Adam Riches, Colin Hoult and Dr Brown in the three years we’ve been on the circuit – so we’re over the moon that Adam won the Edinburgh Comedy (formerly Perrier) Award this year – he fully deserved it, and that he can come down to our tent. It’s a real coup to have the phenomenal Andrew Maxwell as well, not to mention Tony Law, Tom Bell and our amazing special guest…
What can people expect from the evening?
The best stand-up and character comedy in the country, with some of our favourite sketches thrown in, all intertwined with genuine circus performers doing their thing.
Will there be more of the same in the future?
At this moment in time, Circus of Comedy is a one-off, but we'd love to do more in the future and are currently talking about doing one in December - so watch this space!
What is ahead for The Real MacGuffins after the Circus of Comedy night? Immediately afterwards there’ll be an all-night party with 600 naked dwarves, ice sculptures of Dan March and an unlimited absinthe bar, the usual thing, once we recover from that please keep an eye on our website for upcoming gig details (that's www.therealmacguffins.com). We also have various irons in various fires so who knows; The Real MacGuffins may be beamed directly into your living room in the near future...(with some really hot irons).
What would you say to people 50/50 on whether they are going to come along on the 22nd?
This will be a comedy night like no other - experience a unique event where circus and live comedy combine. You won't regret it. But if you don't come, then you WILL regret it. For the rest of your indecisive lives.
At the Arcola Tent; Hosted by The Real MacGuffins; With Adam Riches, Andrew Maxwell, Tony Law, Colin Hoult, Doc Brown, Steve Furst; On Saturday 22nd October at 7:30; Tickets cost £12.
Box Office: 020 7503 1646
John Ord (17/10/2011)