pantomime based on Jack The Ripper’s story. The Beadledook, about a midnight ceremony that conjures up the mischievous spirit of

Jeremy Beadle. Aladdin And His Magic Tramp. All shows written and brought to life by Norwich’s Spooky Kid Productions, who have been working hard to entertain you for the past eight years. Their brand new work Zombie: A Musical is at the Playhouse this month, so I spoke to co-creator Jim Blythe about controversy, Edinburgh Festival and who makes him laugh.


Spooky Kid Productions has been going since 2009. How did it start? I forget exactly - I expect it was the result of a fever. What I do recall was that having spent a lot of years writing material, and a lot of years performing other people’s, it seemed to make sense to combine the two and start performing original material. I wanted to start something which crossed any creative medium and so a non- commercial production company felt like the right way to go. Jack Te Ripper Te Panto was extremely popular despite some initial opinions being aired that people thought it wasn’t a suitable topic for a funny show. Did you anticipate these issues and how did you find dealing with it? Te issue of it being a suitable topic is an interesting one. If you’ve never seen the show or read the script, are you in any position to say what the topic actually is? Te show is a satire that highlights the hypocrisy of a society that wrings its hands over dreadful things that happen to our most vulnerable people, whilst doing nothing at all to try to treat the problems. And that’s still very relevant today, never mind 1888. Humour has always had a place in shining a light on controversial topics and when you pick one there’s always going to be a danger that people will misconstrue what it is you’re doing. After four runs of performances between 2009 and 2015 we’ve never had a single complaint from the many people who have seen the show. Te Playhouse were amazingly supportive too and I thank them for that. You’ve run two Comedy Shorts competition where Norfolk-based writers are asked to submit 20 minute comedy scripts. Te best four are performed at the Maddermarket and then the best one is


announced on the night. How do you find the quality of the material that has been submitted? It’s a mixed bag but at its best it’s great. A chap called James MacDonald (Outline’s Big Eat Out writer!) reached both finals and won the second year and his scripts are really, really funny. I know he’s won another competition at the Maddermarket since so keep an eye out for him. I had some scripts submitted from young writers who showed enormous promise and I really hope they’ve carried on writing. I would have kept Shorts running forever but we couldn’t seem to attract much of an audience along which is a great shame. Your brand new show, coming to Te Playhouse this month is Zombie: A Musical. What’s the gist? It’s a black comedy and a satire, this time attacking corporate greed and corner cutting. Te idea is that a biochemical corporation called Avida are demonstrating their work on the prolonging of human life when things go wrong. Zombies appear, songs are sung, dances are danced, people get killed and hopefully everyone has a jolly good laugh. We’ve written nine new songs for it, we’re working with the Michala Jane School of Dance because we’re not the best dancers in the world and we’re trying

to create a different experience for the audience to the one that they experienced last time we were at the Playhouse. It should be a lot of fun. Who makes you laugh? Stand up wise Stewart Lee, Mark Watson, Reginald D Hunter and Rhod Gilbert are all current favourites, and I love the early Eddie Izzard gigs. I’ll laugh at pretty much anything by Graham Linehan or Douglas Adams. Inside Number 9 is my favourite thing on the TV right now, so clever and funny. Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith are brilliant. What can we expect from going to see a Spooky Kid Productions show? You might have gathered by now that it’s usually dark comedy - so you can expect to laugh. We always aim our material at an adult audience so expect adult themes and language. Te humour is usually absurd but hopefully makes sense in its own twisted way. We agonise over plot holes and try not to leave any. And typically our audiences aren’t traditional theatre audiences; they’re drunks who have taken a night off from the pub to drink in a theatre bar instead.

LIZZ PAGE Read the full interview online at

See Zombie: A Musical at Norwich Playhouse on 21st and 22nd of April. Find out more at

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