Guest Blog – Sketch comedy superstars Crybabies bring an absurd new show to the Fringe
The Crybabies discuss returning to the stage after an unexpected hiatus from live performances.
Broadway World’s Best Newcomer of 2019’s “Crybabies” Blog About Their New Show Bagbeard finally arriving at the Fringe after live-action plans were put on hold, and the influence big roles on Netflix had on the show.
Last time we went to the Fringe, all we had was a black bed sheet, bungee cords, and a suitcase of accessories. Three years later, everything has changed. Apart from the rubber bands and the accessory case. The two are actually the same, but the foil is now a sort of off-white color.
But I guess in many ways that sums up the last three years for Crybabies. The content is much the same, but those on stage now sport a ghostly pale hue.
It’s been a while since we’ve sung our way to a Best Newcomer nomination with our World War II prank. Danger Squad. But now we’re back with our latest narrative comedy, Beard-bag; a surreal sci-fi adventure that accidentally follows scientist Chris Mystery as he finds an alien creature in the woods. Think HEY meets The wicker man meets When Harry met Sally.
The extended gap between these shows has been, what we like to call, very cack. We had a feeling 2020 wouldn’t be our year when a February performance of Danger Squad was canceled by the discovery of a World War II bomb on Dean Street, London. What at first glance looked like one of the worst PR stunts in history set the tone for what would be a (financially crippling) 18-month snooze for the Crycorp Industries team.
However, during the time we couldn’t spend together, each of us managed to survive by getting a few odd TV jobs. James appeared on Life after deathEd wore really nice gloves in an episode of Bridgerton and Michael will appear in Neil Gaiman’s next film The sand man. Fun fact – this Netflix-Crybaby triple header coincided with the biggest subscriber loss in the streamer’s history.
In addition to clearing stock prices, working on these shows has certainly helped us whip Bagbeard in shape. For starters, we want to put on the show this time around. In 2019, we were playing in the basement of a Brazilian restaurant with a grand total of two lights. That’s not to say they haven’t done a great job – both have been impressive on
and off functionality – but for Bagbeard we want to bring in a little more pizzazz that makes 80s sci-fi movies so fun.
On the contrary, working on screen reminded us of all the great things about performing live. Bagbeard we’re basically trying to condense a Spielberg movie into a 60-minute stage spectacle, but we never want to shy away from the unique quirks of live-action comedy. This show sits somewhere between a comedy, a movie, and a pantomime, so we embrace things like audience interaction and unpredictability. When you play thirty characters between you, you have no choice but to lean on chance.
This is one of the reasons why we wanted to do Bagbeard only as a live performance. Many people in the ‘biz’ will tell you that the Edinburgh hours should be made with an eye on TV commissions, but we said no! This show has monsters, alien planets, secret labs, musical numbers, owls – the kind of stuff that makes a TV executive say, “It’s bad and it won’t work on TVWell, prove us wrong BBC/Channel 4/Dave/Sky/Amazon Prime. Prove us wrong.
After going through three years of despair and delirium, it seems normal that Bagbeard ended up becoming a sprawling tide of absurdities. But somewhere in the chaos is a message that says everything will be fine in the end.
Or maybe not. Who knows? Come discover.
Crybabies: Bagbeard, Pleasance Dome (10 Dome), 5:50 p.m., Aug 3-28 (no 15)
Photo credit: Rebecca Need-Menear