Friday, January 26, 2018

The Teacosy Of Inspiration

Neil Broadfoot, Gordon Brown, Douglas Skelton, Mark Leggat

"He dropped his trousers, slowly, shamefully to reveal the tea cosy of inspiration."

Not a sentence one hears often in a lifetime. Unlike, 'here’s that tax bill you’ve been waiting for' or 'Yes I do love the book, it's great apart from the end, the beginning and I think the middle could do with some work as well.'

The former sentence was the demouemout of the show ‘Four Men in Search Of A Plot.’  Or four guys in need of a kick up the bahoukie to my mind.  ( A bahoukie is exactly where you would kick four men who should know better.)

It’s a  scary format, four guys on stage, one laptop, one tea cosy of inspiration and no idea what the audience were going to come up with when asked for a protagonist and a murder victim.  Suggestions are shouted out, for sake of fairness it’s normally the first  heard that is accepted. So   at Bloody Scotland the not so fab four were landed with killing Stuart McBride with a potato peeler, and let’s face it, who hasn’t had that thought cross their mind before.

This time, they had to write a story  about Rabbie Burns being killed with a kite. Thinking back now, they didn’t manage that. They killed a bunch of nuns with a mini exocet missile ( you can tell Mark Leggat is a James Bondy type).  The line about 'And they woke up naked in Venice' got lost in the hysteria somewhere. 


The audience selects the first poor victi…writer and off wee go. The chosen one takes the laptop and has to wear the tea cosy of inspiration, or perspiration if it's a warm venue,  as he batters out the first part of the story. The others take questions from the audience, or chat amongst themselves if nobody else is listening, which is more likely.

When the enthusiastic clatter of the keyboard stops, the writer reads out what he has written and obviously leaves an impossible cliff hanger that the next writer has to sort out. Like Godzilla appearing in  a play park in Dumfries for no reason at all,  allowing/forcing the next writer to say something like ‘Rabbie realised the drugs were now taking effect’ and so it goes on  and on and on...  to the magnificent (?)  reveal which in this case was the smuggling of a tea cosy in a place a tea cosy was never meant to be smuggled.

I like to think that Four Guys was the warm up act for the main event.


This was going on at the Theatre Royal in Dumfries and as the name suggests it is a proper theatre so it was a big gig for the Carry on Sleuthing squad. We were presenting the second outing of the much lauded 'Murder at the Knickerage'. It's what I like to call dangerous theatre, the jokes are bad for your health.

                                               Douglas Skelton- a very talented man.
                                                   Nobody knows what at though!

There are times in my life, like when I’m gluing tassles on to a hairy cushion at 3 am,  endeavouring to create a comedy sporran,  standing in the back garden as the spray glue is toxic to lungs, – at times like this I wonder why I even speak to Douglas Skelton. The times when I find myself on stage massaging the buttocks of a pantomime horse called Trump I wonder why I even speak to him at all. 

           The best actor on this stage is the dead body. At least he didn't bump into the furniture.

Seriously though,  the gang were all at Dumfries which is in that little pocket in the south of Scotland and I was more than a little scared with Letitia’s first outing in a proper theatre with bank seats. And an audience who had paid good money to see both the shows. 

I do have to say that Trump the pantomine horse was a triumph. He stole the show, probably by being the worst presid...sorry pantomime horse that has ever graced a stage. He tried to pee on my leg at one point. He wouldn't get off the stage- cue lots of jokes about how difficult getting rid of Trump can prove to be.

Oh satire.

The jokes were bad, the audience groaned, we lost our place in the script, we drifted onto another script altogether.... somebody came out on stage when they shouldn’t have and vice versa.

                                              Letitia and Bunny.....upstaged by Silas Bounce the deceased. 

And this is why.....
Dear Bunny....he's a terrible gossip, he's all ears...
Or related to Prince Charles....

 And there was a stand up fight for the spotlight that resulted in one fractured feather duster and one bruised ego. It looked a chaotic mess  that had been flung together with no rehearsal at all. But it was all meticulously planned and rehearsed down to the last, finest detail, believe that if you will ( I am a fiction writer). 

Seriously there is nothing in the world that warms your innerds like making people laugh and I can understand why people torture themselves to do it.

 Comedy can be dangerous though it can have a long lasting effect. On the night of this performance, my 82 year old aunt was involved in an incident with some very bad people. However even shocked and stunned, she memorised the number plate of the getaway car. The police are now on their trail. 
When I was told,  instead of asking 'do they have anybody in custody yet?'
The repetition of the script somehow took hold of my brain and I said 'Do they have anybody  in custardy yet? 

Oh yes it’s a dangerous business. This is some dangerous DNA experiment in twinning from Grantown On Spey.


Next month, Carry On Sleuthing is back fundraising for victims of abuse for the Break The Silence charity.

There is a rumour that Carry on Sleuthing is doing some big gigs next year. Alan was musing if Americans would understand it?  Would they sit mouth agape, bemused beyond comprehension and probably thinking that if this is the way the Brits behave maybe the EU, given the choice, would have voted to get rid of them.  Have Americans ever witnessed the wonder of Binky Huckaback and my personal favourite, Dame Celia Molestrangler........ I bet you go and google them right now!
                                                      Gasp In Amazement!  We got off the stage alive!

Applause, applause

Dame Caro Ramsay, Theatrical lovey,  26 01 2018


  1. Sounds really very exciting. I would love to do this. As a member o the audience :-)

  2. Caro, it takes true talent to do what you do. That's not to suggest you don't possess it. Au contraire. After all I've seen you perform. You definitely should take your show on the road. And quickly.

    As for American audiences, improv is a big thing here. Second City, located in Chicago, is an icon of improv comedy with some of America's greatest comics having passed through there. So, too, has one of it's funniest son. So I know of what I speak. You're terrific.