© Michael Shelford
Great British Mysteries is the historical comedy duo made up of Olive and Teddy (played by Rose Robinson and Will Close), who are returning to the Edinburgh Festival this year with their second show: 1599?. Self-described as ‘Woman in Black meets Key Stage 2 Tudor history’, this silly investigation into various perplexing mysteries will leave you wishing you were a detective yourself, or perhaps not.
I asked Will Close from Great British Mysteries these seven questions to find out more about the pair…
1) How did you come to form Great British Mysteries?
‘Great British Mysteries’ began life when we were away on tour with the 1927 show, ‘Golem’, which we were involved with for about two and half years. We did a lot of shows and a lot of travelling and during that time started kicking around an idea for this odd character comedy piece. When we came back, we got Joe Hancock involved as Director/Technical Master/Overlord and then it became quite a productive trio. We’d all done or been involved in comedy before and have known each other a long time so it was a natural fit.
2) What is the biggest mystery you’ve ever encountered?
Well we are mystery geeks so that’s a tricky question. My favourites to read about are probably Nessie, the Yeti and Sea Serpents of all guises. Although, I am quite fond of Mokele-mbembe who are supposedly a species of dinosaur still alive and well in the Congo. Real-life ones on the other hand, that’s probably less exciting… What will become of my student loan? That’s currently baffling mystery hunters everywhere.
3) What makes you laugh the most?
Very hard. I love Richard Ayoade, Matt Berry, Limmy and the list goes on and on and on. My best friend Tim who is a prawn farmer in Canada also makes me laugh, but for different reasons. I mean, he’s a prawn farmer in Canada. That’s gold.
4) Do you like going to the cinema?
I do but I’m not very good at getting it into my routine. Joe and Rose go more. I always book for anything fantasy related – dwarves, elves, dragons and I’m there. But I tend to forget the rest of the time. I have a PictureHouse membership but I just use it as a means of getting slightly reduced popcorn.
5) What is your best Christmas memory?
Ooh, I think they are always best when you’re young. The year we got a Nintendo 64 is hard to top. I saw this large box under the tree on about the 10th of December and then that was it. I couldn’t sleep with excitement; ‘Is it?’, ‘Isn’t it?’, ‘Maybe it’s just more handkerchiefs from my Grandma in a very large box.’ The actual moment the anticipation broke on Christmas morning; I can’t even recall. It was a blur. Mario 64 was seared onto my eyelids for months afterwards.
6) What is the biggest onstage disaster you’ve ever had?
I don’t think there’s ever been anything too disastrous. In a funny way, when something backfires or doesn’t work it can actually create quite a fun vibe. We were doing Golem in Manchester once and the screen (which is completely integral to the whole show) just switched off. Gone. No more films. I was playing drums and doing a live score of the action but then it just vanished. Me and the pianist just jammed out for fifteen minutes and then it came back. I think the audience quite enjoyed it. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
7) What is your most obscure achievement?
I can make an elephant with my hands. It’s nothing perverse, I just bend my fingers into odd shapes… Oh, and I’m tragically good at FIFA. A misspent youth… But at least I know about Mokele-mbembe.
GET YOUR TICKETS FOR ‘GREAT BRITISH MYSTERIES: 1599?’ HERE