Lorenzo Pacitti

Five questions for Robin and Partridge

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High-energy improv duo Robin And Partridge bring their new show to Edinburgh for a month-long run at the Pleasance. The duo talk to Giggle Beats about their career, their new show’s ominous title, working with Jarvis Cocker and more.

Hi guys. How did Robin And Partridge come together? Were you working as solo performers originally? 

He told a joke. I told a joke. We danced. It was comedy at first sight.

We were both in the Oxford Imps which was massive, like 20 people. Oh la. So we scaled down, rather than up. At the start we just said yes to all gigs, so we ended up in all sorts of weird places from the Tate Modern, to private parties for wealthy people to a squatted abattoir in north London.  Eventually we began to realise it worked as partnership because I am lazy and Charlie is not.

What attracted you both to improv? 

I didn’t have to learn a script, which appealed wildly to my laziness. Improv made a good education in the principles of comedy. You rehearse, patterns and principles, rather than scripts and that builds useful tools.

Also, it’s bloody fun. There is an exhilarating abandon is being able to go totally with the moment  (Yes I did just say ‘exhilarating abandon’. Ewww).  Our show this year is largely scripted which gives you more time to tease out themes and play with structure.

The challenge is to have the structural oversight that a written show gives you and to try and retain the immediacy you get with improv. As a double act that comes down to working hard on the relationship with each other and the audience.

This year’s show has a rather ominous title – Robin Dies At The End Of The Show. He doesn’t, does he?

I sure do. It makes the 50 minutes leading up to it _____ very emotional. So to misquote David Foster Wallace, if at any point in the show you get bored, just remember it gets really interesting when I am killed and tell you what happens immediately after a person dies.

You’ve worked with Jarvis Cocker doing improvised stories on Radio 6 – how did that come about and is he as much of a legend as we reckon? 

We did a gig at Glastonbury in 2011 for an arts collective called the House of Fairy Tales. Jarvis saw our show, liked it and asked us to do a ‘stag-do come party come interactive-performance for his bandmate, Steve.  Thus was born a night of mayhem, with many a character, Charlie wrestled Jarvis on a table whilst dressed as a robot. After that we kept bumping into each other, and messing around (sometimes as robots). He recorded some of the performances and put them on his radio show.

Could you tell us more about your wildly successful Rebel Bingo club nights?

Rebel Bingo is a mutant form of Bingo, we invented by accident in a Church Hall in London. It got out of control. It is like bingo, but more fun. Fitting, that like so many others I have grown to love Bingo in the years leading up to my death. Here ‘s to hoping this Robin and Partridge show is just as wildly successful. I am giving a lot to it.

Robin and Partridge: Robin Dies At The End Of The Show, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 30 July – 24 August, 2.15pm, £9/£8 concessions, edfringe.com