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Interview: The Awkward Silence
If you are bored of the Burton Taylor then 6th week has something quite unique in store: a radio play. It sounds a little bit like something your dad listens to on a Sunday afternoon but I am assured by The Awkward Silence that this could not be further from the truth. Assisted by Adam Lebovits, Max Fletcher and Liam Shaw, they promise to bring their audience at The Port Mahon, a taste of their unbelievably tense detective narrative, with ‘guns and shit’. ‘It's the first half-hour episode in a detective-comedy series of ours called 'Shrapnel and Fogg'. Set in East Putney in 1910, it follows Detectives Shrapnel and Fogg as they are introduced to one another and begin a partnership of solving grisly crimes. The first revolves around an evil criminal called The Salamander. He's a bloody weirdo, and leaves dead salamanders at the scene of every crime he perpetrates. Can you imagine that? The guy needs help.'
For a comedy duo who usually write for the stage, I am told that working on a radio play has been ‘a lovely change’ but it has also been a deeply challenging one. ‘You haven't got the opportunity for any visual gags, any real nods to the audience. In other ways however, it has been a more convenient change because so many of the verbal jokes work for radio but would struggle on stage. What's interesting, but perhaps obvious, is that so far we've got no idea about how it will be received, as we've never really done radio stuff; and for half an hour of material, that uncertainty's a bit stronger compared to just testing out a couple of new sketches’
Their tactic to make us part with our well earned cash then? 'Cramming in as many nutters with weird voices as possible, and having lots of fun with jokes revolving around wordplay and verbal misunderstandings.’ He chuckles, ‘I'm a big fan of language so hamming up that side of things - and twisting clichés, playing with turns of phrase, etc. - is great. For this specific project it's also been nice, and of course fairly easy, messing with the detective format. I'd say that one of the reasons we're dipping our toes into radio is that it's a very viable and appealing form in which to showcase comedy and develop a reputation. And there's a lot to be said for the fact that it doesn't involve getting the train to Camden and doing a gig to two people…not that that's ever happened’.
‘The Awkward Silence’ will be performing at The Port Mahon on Friday 24th Feb, followed by stand up from Paul Fung, George Chopping, Rory and Time and Liam Shaw. Tickets are £5.00 (or £4.50 if you whisper the code 'There's some salmon in my knickers...')