A couple of blokes from Norfolk – photo supplied by Norwich Theatre Royal
THE NIMMO TWINS – OCTOBER 13-14
There is no excuse for missing out on seeing The Nimmo Twins as they have announced two bonus dates at Norwich Theatre Royal on October 13-14. Ahead of their autumn visit, one-half of the comedy duo Karl Minns talks more to Norwich Eye about what’s in store
So Karl, which characters will we see when you and Owen return to the Theatre Royal with The Country Members? Give us a flavour of what’s in store?
“All the crowd favourites will be there; She Go will feature heavily, Ken and Vern from Norfolk County Council, Billy Boy the emotionally crippled folk-singer will be stuttering his way through a musical trauma-flashback. Alongside them, we have Anne the appalling Evening News poet and Aylsham’s very-own Hauswerk: a man with a Casio keyboard who is working through his divorce through music”.
And rumour has it, there will be a taster of a future show as well. Tell us a bit about that?
“I rather made a rod for my own back with that promise. I’ll be trying out ten to fifteen minutes of bits and pieces, which will comprise a couple of songs and a new monologue. It’s always nice to try new stuff and it means we can ‘bank’ stuff for the next NFN, which takes the pressure off me when I start to write the new show in earnest. Audiences are always pretty honest about whether they like a bit or not, so you can write and rewrite a bit for ages, but the only real test is whether or not it gets a laugh. So yes, there will be some new bits and pieces. Mind you, if the new bits die hard the first two nights, they’ll not reappear again”.
In the meantime, everyone loves the way you reflect Norfolk life, humour and our many characters. What makes the county and its people so perfect as a basis and inspiration for comedy?
“It has a personality all of its own; the resistance to change, isolation, suspicion of new experience, arrogance, entitlement and a tendency to be underwhelmed. They’re all strong things to parody. You also have Norwich, which is traditionally very liberal and arts-y, then as soon as you travel five miles you’re in Brexit-Land, which in turn, has a population that’s both rural and incomer-rich. Norfolk is a county of tensions and tension creates comedy. The county is also small enough and de-populated enough that specific traits are fairly universal in a way that, say, a show about London wouldn’t share. It’s a show that everyone in the county can relate to and recognise traits, tribes and behaviours, and that’s very bonding. The loveliest thing is that I’ve met people from all outside Norfolk who’ve enjoyed it, without knowing anything about Norfolk life. Even though the show is bespoke to the county, there’s enough jokes that don’t require you to have a working knowledge of Norfolk County Council or the Eastern Daily Press”.
And you do love the media as well. If Nimmo TV is ever on Freeview, what sort of programmes would you commission?
“I’d give She Go a Jeremy Kyle-style chat show where she tried to solve people’s problems. I think she’d be great at defusing situations as there’s nothing she hasn’t done twice as much, with twice as many people as you. I’d love Billy Boy to have a show, possibly called Folk You, where he sang old Norfolk ballads and tried to avoid intrusive thoughts about the ‘men in the big barn’. He’s one of my favourite characters. She Go gets a much bigger reaction and is more loved, but because I improvise Billy’s tics and PTSD every night, I find it hugely cathartic. I think Ken and Vern could do one of those Sunday morning political shows, called I Can’t be Asked. I used to think their characters were too broad and then I saw a video of Norfolk Council’s Cliff Jordan and realised we were practically a documentary”.
Finally with so much going on in Norfolk, are you watching any other news stories, issues or people with interest eg is the NDR going to become the Nimmo’s Distributor Road?
“I drove on a bit of the NDR few weeks ago on a jaunt up to North Norfolk. I’m having to collate all the stories that are bubbling under at the moment and the NDR is definitely one of them. Farke will make an appearance in the next show; I think there’s plenty of mileage out of German efficiency meeting Norfolk indolence. The City Hall clock repair will be in, and Brexit. I have the title of the new show and that’s about it. Not even a date yet. The whole thing is unprepared, vague but I’m sure will stumble itself together in the end. In that sense, it’s very Normal for Norfolk”.
The Nimmo Twins, Friday 13-Saturday 14 October at 7.30pm. Tickets £7-£19.50. Discounts for Friends.
To book, log onto www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000