Eddy Brimson – a stand up in an actor’s world

This April we’re touring ENGLAND AWAY, a show incorporating football, drama and – perhaps for the first time ever – live stand-up comedy throughout the play. We talk to stand up comedian Eddy Brimson about rehearsals, team spirit and feeling like a charlatan…

What role do you have in England Away?
I’m lucky as I get to play me really so its method acting at it’s easiest. I’m a comedian by trade and I have written my pieces with the guidance of Paul Hodson the writer. In the play I get a little longer to make my points than I would in a club set, so it’s an interesting process.

What appealed to you about the play?
I’ve never been in a play before and so being part of a cast is completely new to me. It’s exciting but a little bit scary at the same time as the actors seem to know what they are doing. Most of us comedians can’t believe we’re actually getting away with it most of the time.

Is the play changing and developing in rehearsals?
The play is banging along really well. It’s a great story and the actors have really brought the script alive. Sitting down with Paul and discussing each character’s personality with the actors was really interesting. It’s not as easy as it looks this acting lark. But don’t tell them that.

You’re now in week 3 of rehearsals – what will change in front of an audience?
It’s actually quite hard for me to rehearse my parts as I am so used to having a crowd to play off. It’s made me realise that I actually do bounce off the crowd more than I thought when working a club. Thankfully my pieces allow me a little flexibility, at least I think they do. I better ask Paul about that.

As a stand up comedian, what’s it like rehearsing with a theatre company?
As I said before this is a whole new experience for me but I’ve been made to feel very welcome. That said I feel a bit of a charlatan. How they manage to learn so much dialogue is beyond me. And they don’t stop talking during the breaks either. I thought my wife talked a lot but this cast take the biscuit.

How do you think the audience will react?
It’s going to very interesting to see and hear an audience’s reactions to the production as there are a lot of cracking jokes within the text and the actors really nail the delivery. We’ve laughed a lot as a group – which is a very good sign.

Who do you think England Away will appeal to?
This is not just a play about football, it’s about identity, belonging and what it means to be English to different people. There’s also the odd surprise along the way. I think the appeal is broad, theatre people, comedy goers and football fans should all have a good night. And if you happen to be all three then bingo!



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