Comedy writer, director and producer David Ruby’s latest project is a web series about, as the title aptly suggests, how to date a magical creature. From vampires to zombies to the twins from The Shining, host Toby Vanilla interviews all kinds of monsters about their love lives. David spoke to MoodyComedy about the show…
How did the How to Date a Magical Creature series evolve from the original improv show?
Actually the series inspired the improv show. We had so much fun and laughed so much when we were filming the interviews for How To Date A Magical Creature that during the filming I thought this could translate brilliantly onto a live stage as an improv show.
Jonah Fazel, who plays Santa and Death, had the exact same thought and at the end of the filming approached me suggesting we make that vision a reality. The end result was a sold out run at the Vault Festival in 2019.
Who are the cast and characters in How to Date a Magical Creature?
In alphabetical order…
Jonah Fazel (BAFTA-winning History Bombs, Edinburgh Sell-Out Bumper Blyton, award-winning Treasure Champs) plays Santa in How To Date Satan and Santa, as well as Death in How To Date Death and his girlfriend Janet from Accounts Payable.
Susan Harrison (BAFTA-winning Class Dismissed, Olivier Award-winning Showstopper! The Musical) steps into the shoes of Catriona Gunningforit in How To Date A Vampire. She also plays Medusa in How To Date Medusa, as well as ‘Short Twin’ in How To Date The Creepy Twins from The Shining.
John Henry Falle (Edinburgh-Nominated Best Newcomer Story Beast) is a grumpy zombie in How To Date A Zombie.
Alex Holland (Royal Television Society Award-winner, Free Association) dons his best television suit to become Toby Vanilla, the host of How To Date A Magical Creature.
Richard Soames (BBC Quickies, Michael McIntyre’s Big Show) is the significant other to Clive The Zombie as they embark on a couple’s therapy session.
Dan Starkey (Good Omens, Doctor Who) polished his horns to play Satan, Santa’s better-behaved little brother in How To Date Satan and Santa.
As the ‘Tall Twin’ to Susan Harrison’s ‘Short Twin’, Lucy Trodd (Olivier Award-winning Showstopper! The Musical, Channel 4’s Lee and Dean) stars in How To Date The Creepy Twins from The Shining. She also plays Janet, Death’s girlfriend in How To Date Death his girlfriend Janet from Accounts Payable.
You have a really solid premise for the show – what was the inspiration behind it?
Thank you! The inspiration for the show was actually a brainstorming session I had with my then producer from my first film Custom Love. After the success of Custom Love I had written a short film script called My Ex-Girlfriend Is A Mermaid, for which I’d been speaking to Susan Harrison about playing one of the leads.
My producer and I were discussing different ways of raising money for this new project, and she suggested we produce a teaser for a Kickstarter campaign. That’s when it hit me that it could be really fun to release a bunch of episodes giving humans advice on how to date magical creatures. In fact, I loved that idea so much I put the short film on hold and focused on what has now become How To Date A Magical Creature.
How fun is it assigning a voice and a personality to imaginary creatures such as zombies and Santa Claus?
It was absolutely hilarious, and all credit needs to go to the brilliant performers. They all had uniquely fantastic takes on how they wanted their characters to be, and when the camera rolled, I just let them improvise to see where we got.
For instance, the fact that Satan turns out to the ‘good brother’ versus Santa who is the horribly rude brother enslaving thousands of elves in the north pole, all came from Jonah Fazel, Dan Starkey and Alex Holland improvising the dialogue as they went along, finding a great game and just having fun. The hardest part of the shoot was for the crew not to laugh out loud and ruin the takes!
What do your viewers have to look forward to later in the series?
Later in the series you can expect to see Toby Vanilla in the interviewer’s chair trying to find out more about the dating lives of Medusa, The Creepy Twins from The Shining (yes it’s really them!) and Death and his girlfriend Janet from Accounts Payable.