Tag Archives: mischieftheatrecompany

Who’s Zooming Who?

We are still in Lockdown in England then but on the plus side we are nearly through January, which is historically the longest month of the year. I am all about the positives. This latest round of restrictions is slowly starting to have the desired effect of easing the pressure on our fabulous NHS. The key vaccination programme is now being ramped up meaning the most vulnerable are continuing to get their jabs.

Nobody is enjoying the situation but it is a means to an end. We will get past this and the good times will return. I am looking forward to what will be our version of the roaring twenties around a century after the original post Spanish Flu madness. We just need to still be responsible and sensible in our current choices to protect those we love and our communities as a whole.

Talking of which, I developed a bit of an annoying cough the other week. I did not have any other symptoms but I thought I better get myself tested just to be sure. I went on the NHS COVID website and managed to very easily book a test later that same day. I decided to use the drive through test option. They do give you a choice of that or a walk up option at different locations.

The Staff there were brilliant. It was all nicely organised and well run and most importantly completely safe. I had to do it myself in the car. They hand you the kit and the instructions through your window on the way in. It is a little tricky at first and to be honest not that much fun but it is also simple and straightforward. I mean I managed to do it despite thinking that I had messed it up twice. Side note, it would seem that I have quite the gag reflex. You have to take a swap from the back of your throat and then from up your nose.

Then you carefully follow the simple instructions and package it up as required. That is quite key and important. You hand it to someone on the way out. It is all linked together using a unique QR Code you get when you make the appointment. I got the results back via text and email within eighteen hours. Happily it was negative, so I was fine and the cough disappeared in a couple of days but I felt better for getting it checked out. This is not a virus to take any chances with in my opinion.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have joined in with another couple of Zoom Games Evening’s that are organised by a friend of mine. I have mentioned these before. We all connect on Zoom so we can chat and have a laugh on that while we play. He uses this American website that offers some interactive games that you can play on a mobile phone or tablet. He sets the main page of the site up on Zoom for us to see. At the start of every game it flashes up a unique code which we enter to enable us to join in together to play.

It has an odd selection of slightly strange and weird games loosely based on more familiar games you might recognise. However they are all of course legally different to these so therefore not quite as good, to be fair. But they are perfect for a group of lads to virtually meet up and mess around with. In the last get together we played one that was a bit like “Would I Lie To You”. And another one that is a little bit like Dingbats.

We also played this new one where each player firstly has to draw a design on a T-shirt, which is not easy just using a finger on a mobile phone, even more so when like me you have no artistic talent at all. You then get to enter as many different slogans as you can in a set time. In the first round the game randomly selects which go with which. That was quite amusing but then in the next round you get to choose a design and slogan for a T-shirt using your competitors offerings.

It was all very childish I will happily admit that but there was one particular combination that almost had me in tears of laughter. It is far too rude to repeat here sadly but the picture and words worked perfectly for me. At the end of the game it gives you the chance to actually order the T-shirts you made. I was so tempted to order this one. But in the end I was strong and didn’t. It was a good giggle while still in the comfort of my own home, which is ideal at the minute. It is not the same as meeting up in person obviously but messing around with people on video calls can be great fun!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I went to see “The Play That Goes Wrong” one afternoon about seven years ago. I still think it is the most that I have ever laughed in a theatre. It was my introduction to the Mischief Theatre Company. I have been following them closely since. I have managed to catch all but one of the new shows they have done. I have always seen them early enough that they have the main members of the company in. Over the years I have talked to a few of them after performances.

They have a very unique style and flavour to all of the things that they do. It borrows from a lot of traditional comedy elements but they put their own stamp on it. I am a big fan of theirs. In the last couple of years they have been doing stuff on the television. That has been ace and provided some very funny moments of madness. Like all theatre companies at the moment they cannot perform as they would normally do.

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery
The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

They are doing a series of online live stream improv movie nights at the moment. I watched one of these last Saturday Night. It costs ten pounds for a ticket. They email you an individual link to be able to see it. You log on at 7.30pm for the pre-show countdown. This is when you can put forward your suggestions for what sort of “Movie” they will be making. For example what type of film it is, where it is set and even suggestions for some of the characters in it.

They select a few of these ideas then they make up a play of a movie lasting about an hour or so off the top of their heads. They do have a “director” style character. Who can stop things and play with what is going on a bit to keep the actors on their toes and help them if they start heading down a comedy Cul-De-Sac. The night I saw it was an 80’s musical disaster film set in a library in America. It was brilliant! If you are looking for something reasonably priced to do during the evening I would totally recommend it. Just good old fashioned silly fun!

Mischief Theatre Company
Mischief Theatre Company

I have been watching quite a lot of comedy on television recently. I must admit I am partial to a good panel show. “Would I Lie To You” is such a simple yet effective idea, that is fun to watch and play along with. I love it anyway but it always seems to go up a notch when the great Bob Mortimer is on. He is so good at making the truth sound like a lie and a lie sound like the truth, scarily good at it in fact.

I like “Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown”. That is usually good value for a laugh. You cannot help but play along with the numbers and the words rounds without feeling as thick as you can do if you play along during the original version. It seems like most comedians have a similar level of intelligence to me. That does make me feel a bit better about myself and add to the feel good factor of the show.

I am not saying we have all been stuck at home a lot during the last year but I have just completed the whole of “The Big Bang Theory”. I was very late to the party with this one but I randomly managed to catch the pilot episode on a channel that was showing it daily at a time that coincided exactly with my lunch break. Every day while I was eating I saw one episode. I have now watched it all from start to finish.

Needless to say it is very clever and very funny with some great performances. Such a quality talented cast. They could do it all. I even eventually managed to get over the fact that “Blossom” was in it as a neuroscientist. The amazing thing is that Mayim Bialik is actually a neuroscientist in real life. That is very impressive. She left acting to study and then returned to play the role of someone who matched her qualifications. Genius!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am still doing my weekly Pop Quiz on my Facebook page every Tuesday at 8.30pm. Just for some lockdown fun. It lasts around thirty minutes and contains thirty music related questions. You can play along however you like in a large group as one team or on your own.

The way it works is that you are only really playing against and testing yourself, although some people play against each other using their own online chat groups. Here is last week’s quiz if you fancy having a look at it before you decide if you are going to join me live for it one week. https://www.facebook.com/796795590/videos/10164567407325591/

Neil Quigley

My football team Tottenham Hotspur are doing alright. We are still in the FA Cup having beaten Wycombe Wanderers this week. I used to watch the “Chairboys” when I was a teenager and played for their under sixteen team for a season. However there was only one team I wanted to win. I am one hundred percent Spurs. We play Everton in the next round. Another team and ground I know well as I my mate Jeff supports them and I have been with him to Goodison Park quite a few times over the years. That will be a fun contest with plenty of banter flying around I am sure.

In the Premier League we are still hovering around the Champions League places. I am not convinced we will win that competition. But I am hopeful we might be able to be successful in one of the cups that we are still in and lift a trophy this season. That would be brilliant. It did used to be lucky for us when the year ends in one, although the last time this was true was 1991, so it has been a while since that has been the case. I am enjoying watching the team on the television. It is a nice distraction from things, although I am looking forward to being back at the ground when allowed.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

You can listen to me still on Saturday afternoon’s between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.

The Wonder Of You

I have mentioned before that with these busy lives we all lead how hard it is to arrange a simple night out with friends. You have to plan these things well in advance or get lucky by picking a random date you can all make. Happily the stars aligned for me and a group of my mates recently, as at fairly short notice we managed to agree to all meet up for drinks a couple of Fridays ago.

I will admit in theory it should be easier for me to be available, as I am the only one of the gang who is not married with children. In my defence though, I do keep myself nice and busy. I tend to book things in the diary months in advance. We decided to go out in Windsor as it was a pretty good central location. Plus we had not been there for a while. I stayed at one of their houses and met the other two there in a pub.

Windsor Night
Windsor Night

We actually started off in Eton. There are quite a few good venues in that area, many of which we had already experienced in the past. We got the evening underway at The Henry VI. It is a quality pub and it normally has some live music during the weekend. There was a guy singing and playing the guitar, while we were in there. Next we then headed just up the road to The George Inn to sample some of the ales from the local Windsor & Eton Brewery.

We ended the night in The King and Castle in Windsor, which is right opposite the Castle. It was a top evening. We spent the entire time chatting, joking and laughing. None of us can remember what we talked about, but we know we spent a large part of the evening just laughing, which is the sign of a good night. That is exactly how things should be with great friends, who you feel totally at ease with just being completely lost in the moment with them.

Ascot Beer Festival
Neil Quigley

I first became aware of the Mischief Theatre Company when I was talking to an actress friend of mine, who said she was hearing good things about a show that was a success at the Edinburgh Festival. It was due to come to the West End and she said it was worth seeing. That play was “The Play That Goes Wrong”. I eventually got round to seeing it. I went with a mate to see a matinee performance. We sat in the stalls. I really cannot remember the last time I laughed so much during a theatre show. It was brilliant from start to finish.

The members of the company write produce and perform in all of their shows. Well they do initially until they move on to their next show or when it goes on an UK Tour. The original cast of the “Play That Goes Wrong” even took it to Broadway. It was a huge hit in New York. It is actually still on in London and well worth seeing. The next play from them was Comedy About A Bank Robbery. I watched this in the West End with once again the original cast of the Mischief theatre players in it. It was also amazing, fast paced clever and funny.

They then thought they would try their hand at something festive and came up with Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Which was again brilliant. I happily also saw this with the original cast. In fact I have seen all of their shows early enough to see the founding members of this great collective perform in them. I recognise them all and know who they all are now. They are all fantastically talented actors with excellent comedy timing. Why am I telling you all this, you may ask?

Groan Ups

Well last week I went and saw their latest offering called Groan Ups at the Vaudeville Theatre in London. I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt it was very original and funny. While still keeping with the style they are known for. Nobody is doing what the Mischief Theatre Company is currently. They have developed their own brand of craziness and creativity. That is extremely slick and very funny.

Groan Ups follows the lives of four children from their first year at school through to secondary school then on to a reunion. It is full of well-structured topical jokes and quality visual set pieces. There is a lot of silliness but I would expect nothing less and be disappointed if there was not. The staging and transition through the years is also so nicely done. I had a wonderful time seeing this show. It is ace.

Groan ups

The Mischief Theatre Company has a residency at the Vaudeville Theatre. They will be putting on a few different shows. The next of these opens on the 14th December and is called Magic Goes Wrong. That they have put together with help from the legendary American magicians Penn and Teller. I am already sure this will be excellent. I will definitely have to see it.

I want to wish them all the best with it. They seem like a decent bunch of people. Who as well as creating and performing very amusing shows, do a lot of charity fund raising to.

Neil Quigley and Elvis Presley hanging out in the 70's #crazydays
Neil Quigley and Elvis Presley hanging out in the 70’s #crazydays

My mum and I are both big fans of Elvis Presley. Last year I was lucky enough to visit Graceland, which was amazing. She celebrated her 70th Birthday in September. For her present I got us tickets to see Elvis Presley in Concert Live on Screen with Live on Stage The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and some members of Elvis’s TCB Band. It sounded fantastic. I was looking forward to it as much as she was, I think.

To make the experience extra special I also booked us a night in a hotel right next to the O2 Arena, where the gig was taking place. It was last Sunday. We made our way to London around lunchtime and arrived in North Greenwich with plenty of time to relax before the gig. We were staying at the Intercontinental Hotel, which is so close to the venue, it even has its own walk way to get there. Which I must admit was very handy.

Intercontinental Hotel

I treated her to a lovely meal in the Brasserie Restaurant that they have there. We just went for a main and a pudding, both of which were fantastic for the record. They also have a Sky Bar there on the eighteenth floor. We popped up there for a quick drink. It has great views over the river and the Canary Wharf area of the City. It was really chilled and relaxing in there with jazz music playing. Then it was time to get ready for the main event.

Sky Bar

Using the special walk way between the hotel and the O2, we went and firstly collected our complimentary programmes and bags that I had organised, before going into the venue itself to enjoy a drink. It was then time to take our place ready for the start. I had got us some decent seats. We were seven rows from the front. Firstly the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra came out and played just an instrumental version of an Elvis song. Then Priscilla Presley appears on stage to set the scene and explain how this collaboration came about.

Elvis at O2

The orchestra then strike up and on the big screen right at the start of the first vocal Elvis appears singing totally in-sync with the music. The sound was brilliant, the live music was faultless and it was so cleverly done with Elvis singing and thanking the audience at the end of the songs. I was very impressed with how well the whole thing was put together. It cannot be easy to tie up live music with a video play out. Congratulations to the technical team. They did an excellent job.

We then had some more stories from Priscilla and Elvis’s great friend Jerry Schilling. They then introduced on to the stage what was the highlight of the night for me, some original members of the TCB Band. This was Elvis’s band of musicians he hand-picked, who played with him from around 1969 until the end of his life. For any non-Elvis fans TCB stands for Taking Care of Business. That was his mantra for looking after family, friends and employees. Plus it made up the work ethic for putting on shows and performing for his fans.

He had a massive TCB ring that he used to wear. Those initials were often on his clothes, in his cars and they were even on the tails of the two planes that he owned. They always featured alongside the logo a flash of lightning, meaning “Taking Care of Business in a flash” It is a philosophy and a way of dealing with things, which personally I really like and admire. Looking after people around you the best way you can. I own a couple of items of Elvis branded clothing that proudly display the TCB insignia.

Elvis at O2

The TCB band members performing at the 02 were his lead guitarist James Burton, who is just sensational, his keyboard player Glen D Martin, who also arranged many of “The Kings” hit songs and lastly his drummer Ronnie Tutt, who is considered by many as one of the best drummers of all time. Seeing those guys on stage together with a video of Elvis is the closest I could ever get to seeing the real thing. They had monitors on stage and just like they did when he was alive they were watching him closely on screen to feel the music and the direction from him on the flow of songs. For me it was truly magical.

The TCB Band members joined the Orchestra for a few songs at the end of each of the two halves. There was just something way more special about the songs they were involved with. During the second half Priscilla and Jerry came back out to talk us through some home videos from their private collection. They performed a lot of his big songs and as I said earlier they all sounded and looked great. They included his sense of fun on stage, the faces he would pull and how sometimes he would change the lyrics of songs for a laugh. I was in good company as Brian May from Queen was also in the audience watching it.

Elvis at O2

Both my mum and I had a brilliant night singing and dancing along. It was expertly put together and produced, I loved it! Afterwards we returned to the hotel, found the bar and had a couple of glasses of wine to relax and unwind, while talking about the gig. We then went to bed on a lovely post performance high. The power of music in life should never be underestimated. I am so pleased I caught this show.

Elvis at O2

I was involved in another Quiz show development run through recently. When you are trying to get something brand new on to the television, you need to test it to find out what works and what does not. If the thing you are producing is a game show of some kind, you need “contestants” to play it. This is where I come in. I really enjoy answering questions, so therefore I always like being involved with this kind of thing and jump at any opportunity to do so.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

In this latest one, which took place in Central London I was paired up with somebody I had met previously, as it was a two player quiz. It was the first time I had played this particular game. I cannot tell you too much about it yet, as it is still in development. The production company are in the process of pitching it to television channels in the hope that they will buy it. In fact we were demonstrating it to a major channel’s representatives on this occasion.

What I can say is that it was an equally fun and frustrating game. It will be one of those that you can really shout along with at home. I like the idea behind it and the jeopardy involved throughout it. My partner and I actually won. Which I must confess I was pretty happy about. I am very competitive and I always enjoy winning. It was a fun couple of hours basically showing off in front of a crowd. It is always something I have a great time doing. I am hoping to do more of these things with this production company in the future. If it does make it on to the television, I will then be able to point it out to you.

Neil Quigley

I have now been to two Spurs home games with our new manager Jose Mourinho in charge. We have won both of these games, which is always a good thing. We still seem to have some problems at the back but we have no such issues at the other end with even Moussa Sissoko scoring his first goal for the club. Already in his short time with us the new boss has quite clearly tweaked the tactics slightly and adjusted the positions and roles of a few players. Which to be fair to him does seem to be mainly working.

He is already starting to win me over with what he is saying and of course the results he is getting. Unfortunately football is a results business and sadly for whatever reasons Mauricio Pochettino was not getting them this season. He is a great coach. He will get another big job soon and he will be very successful by the way. I am off to see us face Burnley at home this afternoon. Always a tough match, but one I hope and think we can win.

Neil Quigley

It is my birthday this Tuesday. Unusually for me I have not really got anything planned or organised this year for the day itself. Mind you I am off to The Comedy Store the night before, which will be good. I do also have plans for the following weekend. Therefore I am pretty sure I will manage enough celebrating of it.

It is not a landmark one as such, so no need to mark it with anything too special. But I expect I will end up doing something for it. I will tell you what that was when we speak next.

Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil.