What is comedy walkabout?
This is a question that we often get asked when we tell people that our profession is specialising in comedy walkabout characters for events. Most people are familiar with the traditional street shows that we see, but at a great many events you will also see the walkabout acts that appear into an area cause some spontaneous theatre by improvising with their surroundings and the people, buildings, and anything else they can weave into their happenings.
The2men Comedy Walkabout
For The2men we see each new event as a fresh challenge to bring our own unique brand of comedy into every booking, and give people a great experience of being privvy of our comedy street theatre walkabout characters. One of the great things about doing this is that we never know what situation’s we will get ourselves into and where it will lead. We are always looking at what’s going on around us and then playing and creating some comedy on the spot. That’s really the essence of comedy walkabout. Sometimes we are just as surprised as the audience as to what happens. But whatever happens we will stay in character and keep playing.
The importance of walkabout acts
At an event where there are many different shows in different locations the walkabout act provides theatre between the shows, so people are entertained between different areas. Big festivals are well known for using a variety of walkabout acts because large areas can be covered where there would otherwise be empty spaces. We will always arrive early at a booking to walk around performance areas beforehand to look for potential comedy ideas that we can later work into the act.
Examples of our comedy walkabout
A good example of our comedy walkabout is our characters “The Wardens“. At Ashbourne street theatre festival we are brought back every year to literally play with the traffic as it comes into the town. People will line the streets on both sides to watch what we will do next and when someone decides to park their vehicle for a minute a new piece of theatre will happen.
As the Paparazzi our aim is to make people feel like a celebrity. If you look vaguely like a celeb then we will be snapping away at you and trying to interview you. We will also try and set up pictures for our ficticious newspaper the daily bucket by getting people to enact a good scene for us worthy of a front page story.
As the Tourists we are two likeable London geezers with bad sunburn and we are really excited to be on holiday at wherever we are at. We love to talk to people and are always trying to get some good holiday photos. People love to play along with us and there are always hilarious consequences.
Is there a hidden camera?
As great fans of the old candid camera shows and other street theatre comedy walkabout acts we can understand why this style works so well. Spectators love to see their fellow human beings caught in the headlights of a moment. If you happen to be in that place at that time you may find yourself either spectating it or even being part of it. Quite often we see people looking around to see if they are on some surreal reality television programme. The beauty of walkabout theatre is that it’s live! And just like live TV you just don’t know what might happen next. Once people see us they become drawn into our world, and many people will often follow us to see what we will do next. It is fun to just watch us, and passers by can find themselves stars in a piece of theatre. Then they can watch as we move on to another situation and create more street comedy.
It’s not just festivals that this idea works in. Whatever the location and whatever the occasion we can use the space to play with people and create walkabout comedy.