Who are the Lampoons? The Mumble, the Edinburgh Fringe & most probably the entire world are about to find out…
Hello Josh, so where are ya all from & where ya’ll at, geographically speaking?
Josh: Well herro mumble, we’re kind of all dotted around Eng-er-land. I’m originally from Reading but we are all now based around London. We regularly rehearse in Balham though, in a window-less basement. I think that has a lot to do with the kind of material that went into this.
So Christina, how are you finding being the only lady in The Lampoons?
Christina: You know what, a lot of the time I don’t even notice. Which I think can only be a good thing. We’re simply a team of four mad idiots collaborating on a script with the freedom to be silly, ugly and bold in our choices: and as a woman often cast as a dainty, innocent romantic, this is very freeing and exciting for me! So it’s a lovely experience being surrounded by a bunch of confident, expressive, funny chaps and leaving any inhibitions at the door. Though maybe ask me this question again when I’ve lived with them all for a month in Edinburgh…
Hi Oliver, so Why comedy, what is it about being funny in front of other people that makes you tick?
Oliver: It’s an instant response. I can’t sing or play an instrument which illicit similar audience reactions. My parents brought me up on classic comedy like Tony Hancock, Emo Phillips and Peter Cook, so they kind of became my hero’s as a kid.
Which comedians inspire all four of you, the common comedic ground, both old skool & contemporary?
Adam: The Spymonkey troupe for one are a huge influence for us, and we’ve actually been fortunate enough to have spent time training with them. Then there’s Swedish comedian Carl-Einar Häckne who is one of our favourite people ever, get on YouTube and binge watch him now! Also, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace is a solid go to, and all things Bo Burnham make us happy.
Oliver, you’re also a dab hand with a pen. Can you tell us about Robbers and Harry Potter?
Oliver: Robbers started life as a scene I wrote for a friend, when they weren’t able to do it I showed it to Josh and my director friend David and we decided just to make a film together. Similarly with Harry Potter and the sketch show Josh and I recorded. We just wanted to be creative. It’s wonderful that people enjoyed watching it as much as we did making it.
Since your graduation in 2013, Christina, you’ve been extremely treading the boards; but which has been your favorite play to act in?
Christina: That is a toughie! I’ve been lucky to have an amazing time on every single job I’ve done. I really enjoyed working on Torn Apart twice with No Offence Theatre; a much darker story than House on Haunted Hill! I was working with an amazing team of generous, talented actors and writer/director, and the performances felt different every night.
Josh, you’re an ever present on stage & screen, but how on earth did you get the Thomas the Tank Engine gig, & did you enjoy it?
Josh: Oh that was a bit of a weird one. My girlfriend’s dad, Robert Hartshorne was the composer of the TV show’s music and he knew very early on I wanted to get involved so he wrote me a song to sing called ‘Hear the Engine’s Coming’. I had a lot of fun and still find it quite funny when I see the YouTube remakes of me singing with toy trains being pushed around. They get more hits than I do!
What exactly are The Lampoons trying to achieve?
Josh: We like making funny theatre, and we’ve stumble upon this unique concept of taking classic Horror Films and re-imaging them into Clowning Shows. I think it’s incredibly important to laugh and there’s a few different types of laughter, we definitely conjure up that unexpected ‘surprise laugh’.
You guys are quite well established on the London circuit, do you think you are ready for the Fringe?
Josh: AAHHHHHH HOLY BALLS! IT’S A DEBUT! Yes, this is the first time The Lampoons will be hitting the Edinburgh Festival! We have lots of friends in London from our Halloween Shows each year but this will be a new born baby idiot for us to all deliver and it will be a great experiment to see how the victims… I mean audiences of Edinburgh will react… Previous B-Movie re-creations include ‘ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES’ – I’m sure you all know that one….
Adam, can you tell us about your experience with the Virgin Trains comedy campaign?
Adam: Ah, now that was another immensely fun project. Every film was a different character, I got to play a Victorian Strongman, a Corn on the Cob, a Nun, and even The Godfather! Very Lampoonesque
What is it about performing live you personally love the most?
Adam: Engaging with the audience right then and there is the best thing. Especially in a Lampoons show, we love to make each other endure things on stage, like spreading Branston pickle all over Tina’s face when she’s playing a dead character, or forcing Josh to eat an entire cucumber in one go, we like to make the audience feel complicit in the act and feel that they are enduring it with us
Where did the idea for The Lampoons originate?
Christina: We’d been friends for a long time, and big admirers of each other’s work, but had been looking for the right project to come along. At the outset of The Lampoons we really didn’t know what we were going to end up with, but we knew we wanted to explore something beyond the more commonplace comedy styles. That’s when we stumbled upon B movie classic, Attack of the Giant Leeches; we found the script was a brilliant foundation for our whacky devising style, and following the show’s success over Halloween in 2016, in October 2017 we chose to tackle House on Haunted Hill in the same vain.
What is the creative process behind writing The Lampoon’s material?
Oliver: We tend not to have a “process” so much as a continuous increase in madness. We highlight the scenes in the film we think are important for plot or character. Then over a week or so we just play around with how to tell the story in a way that entertains us the most, frequently changing jokes to keep things fun in rehearsals but sometimes locking in the ones we just can’t beat. That’s how you end up with a dancing ghost cat.
How much time do you guys spend together outside The Lampoons?
Adam: As much as we can, which is not nearly as much as we would like! But we’ve got Josh’s wedding quickly approaching which will be perfect for a big blow out. I’ll be a groomsman and Ollie has the honour of being Best Man! We’re very excited.
You’re bringing House on Haunted Hill to this year’s Fringe, can you tell us about the show?
Christina: We have taken the original black and white screenplay of ‘House on Haunted Hill’ from 1959, and re-imagined it starring four of the most professional idiots you will ever meet. This could well be the most ridiculously bizarre late-night show at the fringe; a thumpingly hilarious non-stop Comedy-Horror, the likes of which have never been seen. Vincent Price(s) may make an appearance, too. Plus, you get water pistols, ping pong balls and a Ghost Cat! What more could you want?
You have twenty seconds to sell the show to someone you are flyering in the streets of Edinburgh – what would you say?
Oliver: I guarantee you’ve never seen this old classic.
*Regurgitates a whole cucumber and walks away*
House On Haunted Hill
August 1st– 12th, 13th-26th (23.00)