IT’s midsummer, which means heat and a touch of madness — oh, and the Henley Fringe Festival, which opens for
IT’s midsummer, which means heat and a touch of madness — oh, and the Henley Fringe Festival, which opens for its sixth season this weekend.
One of the production companies coming back again is Mixed Doubles, a team which got together in the tropical British summer of 2012 after four like-minded “social pariahs” decided to join forces to make comedy.
Known to each other from their drama school days at Mountview Academy, all four were keen writers and it seemed inevitable that they would one day reunite and postpone unemployment through the means of sketch comedy.
Their debut performance was a week of shows at the Henley Fringe Festival last July.
Producer Rachel Metcalfe said: “The festival is still very close to the Mixed Doubles’ hearts. Paul Aitchison, one of the four, is local to the area and especially loves performing to his home crowd.
“At last year’s Henley Fringe the group had no idea what to expect, but the comic energy meant that audience reactions and press reviews were so positive that they committed to developing the show full time.
“The foursome has a keen eye for the ludicrous, and they have enjoyed an impressive first year on the circuit.”
The comedy crew are now regulars on the London comedy scene, with three sell-out weeklong runs. They have also played corporate gigs to huge crowds. The team also scooped the people’s choice award at the Dave Comedy Festival for their comedy short, Modern Conversation.
The original four has now grown to a team of seven. Director Hannah Joss was recruited to sharpen the story-telling, shape and pace.
Filmmaker Ben Garfield liked what he saw and arranged for a full crew to film some of the crew’s best sketches for internet release, which have since notched up more than 20,000 views. And Rachel Metcalfe, whose day job is working for ITV, has adopted them and says she is “excited” to be joining such a dynamic group. She said: “We have even had glowing reviews on Twitter from the likes of Armando Iannucci and Sue Perkins. You would be mad to miss it.”
This year Mixed Doubles are one of the headlining shows at the Henley Fringe Festival. Their show, at Henley Rowing Club each evening at 9pm, will include new sketches and a few old classics.
* Henley Fringe Festival runs from tomorrow (Saturday) until Sunday, July 28. A pink bus will be stationed in Market Place tomorrow from 11am to 1pm, where you can buy tickets for shows and meet some of the artists. For more information visit www.henleyfringe.org