1. Tell us more about this new show, and your own involvement and role in it?
Mole & Gecko: The Show is an adventure story down a river that the audience help us create. I’ve brought my guitar to add to the poetry table. Simon has a rap background so we musically gelled really quickly. This is the first material I’ve done specifically aimed at kids and families and I’ve found it such an exciting challenge, especially working out what is funny. Simon is much more experienced working with younger people so I’ve learnt loads from him.
2. How has the devising process worked for this show?
It’s been ridiculously fun. From the first time Simon and I decided to get together it has flowed really easily. We are both word play fiends so typically it’s been pun-demonium. As a singer/songwriter most of my work is as a Lone Ranger so it’s been especially refreshing to work on a collaborative piece with Simon and our director Peader. If your brain is a web of potential ideas, new brains make different connections possible. Which links with the ‘message’ question I’ll answer later!
3. Do you have a favourite scene or line in the show?
My Gecko character is adventurous and maybe a little reckless but over the course of the show from Mole he learns Mole-fullness which as a play on words makes me extremely happy.
4. What would you say is the main take-home message of the show?
As well as Mole-fullness I think the main message is to embrace people’s (and animals’) differences and learn from each other. Also, you can’t just focus on your little section of the river because it’s all connected.
5. The show features plenty of audience interaction. Does that make the show tricky to rehearse without them? Without revealing any spoilers, what kind of thing are you hoping they will join in with?
Luckily we’ve been privileged to work with young people in both Maidenhead and London whilst devising the show and their input was invaluable when trying out interactive sections. The audience interaction grows as the show goes on so hopefully their confidence grows with it. As the show comes to a close the audience have the final say on what action brings the piece to an end.
6. What’s your favourite river? Have you made any memorable river trips?
I never get tired of the Thames but there’s a little river next to where my grandparents live in Norfolk called the Taz that I’ve had many a decent Kayak voyage on.
7. The show features a weasel with a serious biscuit problem! What’s your favourite biscuit?
8. Do you have any interesting connections to the venues that the show is touring to?
I lived in Lewisham as a child so I reckon baby me had some classic times at the Albany.