Catching up with Gloriator’s Sue Donkin
Blog by Emily Laurens
Tell us a bit about Spitz and Co? Where did the name come from?
We are a French/English female comedy duo based in South Gloucestershire. The name came from my dog – a Japanese Spitz – she features in the trailers for our two shows, and was the inspiration behind the logo (www.spitzandco.com). I would love her to be in one of our shows but I know she would completely upstage us!
Do you see yourselves as part of the long tradition of women double acts being silly on-stage and on TV (French and Saunders, Victoria Wood and Julie Walters)? Who are your silly-on-stage heroines?
Yes! I used to watch them religiously. Dawn French is from Plymouth and went to the same school as me so I’ve always felt a special kinship with her – I tried to explain this when I found myself standing next to her at a show in Edinburgh, but was so overwhelmed I was only able to gibber something incoherent, go bright red, and scuttle away in embarrassment … Pauline is French, so she grew up reading Sartre.
How did you respond to the Russel Crowe film Gladiator? What inspired you to re-make it as a stage show? And how close is it to the original?
We both loved the film. And Russell Crowe. Re-making it as a stage show was a perfect excuse to watch it lots of times, and to wear armour and play around with swords. If you’re a fan of film there are definitely scenes that you will recognise, but equally if you’ve never seen the film in your life it doesn’t matter one bit!
Do you always work with cardboard costumes? Where did the idea come from to use cardboard boxes?
This is the first time we’ve worked with cardboard costumes, but I don’t think it’ll be the last – it’s so versatile, and plentiful!! We started using it during rehearsals just because there were some empty boxes available, and then realised they actually worked very well – and Sue Condie our brilliant designer was able to turn them from ordinary boxes into proper costumes – the gladiator helmet is a work of art!
Have you performed in Wales before? Are you looking forward to coming to Pembrokeshire?
We’ve been to Barry Island – but it was so windy our cardboard set nearly blew away! Very much looking forward to performing indoors this time, and Pembrokeshire is beautiful so hoping we will have a time for a stroll along the coast before we leave.
Is there anything particularly special about performing in small venues like village halls? How is it different to working in theatres?
Rural touring is incredibly rewarding – everyone knows each other so it often feels like a party more than a show, especially as the audience invariably becomes involved! – and there’s nothing better than making people laugh, the atmosphere is always fantastic after the show and we love meeting the people who have come to see us.
Tell us a bit about what you’re up to next? I hear you have a show called Glorilla?
Yes, “Glorilla” is loosely based on “Gorillas In the Mist” – so we take the audience to the jungle – it’s a mad adventure that ends in absolute mayhem!! But a lot of fun. We’re performing a Christmas version – “Gloria In the Mist-letoe” to the Theatre Royal Plymouth in December.
Tickets are still available for tonights performance at Llawhaden Hall. Advance closes at 4pm & tickets will be available on the door.
For more information click here or call the Span Arts Box Office on 01834 869323.
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