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Potted Interview

First Published 19 December 2011, Last Updated 15 February 2012

“Once upon a time. He’s behind you! On no he isn’t! Boo! Happily ever after.” It’s not easy to summarise a pantomime in a short, bite-sized chunk, but family-friendly entertainers Dan and Jeff picked up an Olivier Award nomination last year for Potted Panto, which charged through seven dame-packed tales in 70-minutes.

Back in London at the Vaudeville theatre for a 2011 season, and with an extra panto thrown in for good measure, Official London Theatre decided to test their barnstorming brevity with a potted interview to make Twitter look like Dostoyevsky, where they were only allowed 100 characters for each answer:

How did you first meet and come to work together?
Dan: He was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar when I met him. I picked him out, shook him up, turned him into something new.

How did you first come up with the Potted shows idea?
Jeff: It was born of necessity. We had 20 mins to make 400 Potter fans laugh. (At the launch of book 5).

Describe Potted Panto in the all-important 100 characters or less.
Dan: Fast-paced, laughter-filled 80 minutes where 2 men who should know better race through 8 pantos. 

Funniest moment in Potted Panto?
Jeff: There are many. But it probably involves me getting covered in something (like poo or porridge).

Is there any romance?
Dan: Well with Jeff playing many ‘Beautiful’ Princesses & me as Prince Charming, there’s romantic tension in the air!

Why will children love this show this Christmas?
Jeff: Because it’s got everything a panto has – times 8! And we don’t patronise them.

Is there anything in it for adults?
Dan: Absolutely! We are advocates of family entertainment so regardless of age there is something for everyone in the show.

Would you ever do a show just for adults?
Never say never. But we are loving doing family shows right now.

What are your favourite ever pantos and why?
Cinderella. The prince’s basis for finding his soul-mate is whether she fits a shoe! Good life lesson!

Why are pantomimes so popular with the British people?
They are the remnants of our theatrical heritage. That and the bum jokes.

How did you feel when you were nominated for an Olivier Award last year?
Surprised and speechless! Which doesn’t happen often to me! It was a great honour.

What was the night like?
Incredible. Like we were crashing someone else’s party. We were sat behind Derek Jacobi!

How will you both be spending Christmas? Who will you be with on Christmas Day?
Christmas will be with my family. We always make sure, wherever we are in the world, we head home for Christmas.

What are your favourite eight things about Christmas?
Mulled wine, presents, mulled wine, family, mulled wine, carols, parties & mulled wine.

What have been the highlights of your Potted career so far?
When we opened at the Garrick, walking onto the stage and thinking, 5 years ago we were playing an 80-seater in Edinburgh!

Has anything ever gone wrong on stage?
Oh yes. The shows are so mad backstage, it is rare to have a performance where nothing goes wrong!

Dan you have acted in television dramas. Will we see you in a serious play on stage soon?
Never say never! It’s the diversity that makes mine the greatest job in the world!

If you were interviewing each other, what burning question would you ask?
When I’m on stage do you nick my Strepsils? They are going down at an alarming rate.
Jeff: No, I think you eat them in your sleep. I do, however, steal your pistachios…

Jeff: Oooh, so Dan, it’s obviously great working with me. What’s the very best bit?
Dan: Covering you in porridge, custard, water and poo.

What’s next? Potted Popeye? Potted Pooh? Potted Pinter?
I’d love to do something on Dr Who, we’ve just got to make it fit with P! Failing that can I just be in Dr Who?
Jeff: Some good suggestions there. We may steal.., er, sorry, “borrow” one of those.

If you both weren’t Potted geniuses, what would you be doing and why?
I’d like to be an archaeologist, preferably in the 1930’s, with a hat and a whip. Essentially I want to be Indiana Jones.
Jeff: My only other love is history, so I guess something historical, rather than hysterical, as it were…



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