Are you sitting comfortably? Then we shall seize this chance to delightedly announce that Austentatious will very soon be coming to a radio near you! If your proximate receiver is switched to BBC Radio 4 at some as yet TBC point in June. Which of course it should be.
Yes, lovely Auntie Beeb has commissioned us to perform Austentatious on the wireless in recognition of the upcoming bicentenary of dear Jane’s death (18th July 1817, fact fans). We are over the moon about it (the commission, not the death), especially since it will be the first long-form improvised format the BBC have ordered since our good friends The Showstoppers had their own radio run in 2011.
The show will be recorded at the Drill Hall on May 5th, in front of a live audience (which as established alas rules out Jane herself), and will then be polished up and ready for transmission in the summer.
Thrilling as that is, it constitutes just part of what is shaping up to be a very, very busy summer for the group.
In August, we return to our spiritual home of Edinburgh for our 6th(!) Fringe in a row, where we will once again be donning our pelerines and pelisses to take to the stage in that divine supine bovine – the Udderbelly!
Before that, we’ve a smattering of performances across the land, including an appearance at the Cornbury Music Festival alongside our musical heroes Right Said Fred (we fully expect a rendition of ‘I’m Too Sexy For My Chemisette’ played on the harpsichord), and at the Wimpole History Festival, alongside our favourite subject at school: History.
What’s more, we’re somehow finding the time for not one, but two European jaunts to France and Germany. Sacre Bleu! Something in German!
And to top it all off there may well be another very special announcement being made very, very soon. Watch this space, dear readers…
“With such an husband, her misery was considered certain.“
AUSTEN PREDICTS MELANIA TRUMP BY A MERE 200 YEARS IN PRIDE & PREJUDICE…
The Troupe As A Whole spent a joyous Christmas devoting themselves to the serious businesses of carousing, making merry, and teasing their family members. We are pleased to report that the season was a profitable one: Ms Cooke-Hodgson received a new set of amusingly shaped novelty spatulas from her uncle, and Mr Murray a gift subscription to Tinder (meaning he will have a parcel of firewood delivered to his home each month). As a group, Austentatious are looking forward to returning to the London stage – January’s show was a roaring success, and there are tickets on sale now for February – and are currently finalising their plans for an exciting new mystery venture, which they hope to announce before long!
Mr. Dickson has announced his New Year’s Resolution, which is to find a woman with more than fifteen thousand a year and marry her. The rest of the group has told him that there cannot be more than five women in the country with such incomes, but he has insisted that ‘Any woman should consider herself lucky to receive a dose of Dickson’s Old Peculiar’. We have insisted we do not know what he is talking about.
Mr. Roberts, for his part, insists that his New Year’s Resolution is to be gentle and kind to all those around him, and to obey the Fifteen Moral Scruples laid out in the works of Saint Ethelberg. This is despite the fact that Miss Bagshawe, the butcher’s daughter, swears blind she saw him making very hurtful comments to Palanquin, the milliner’s dog, and stealing an apple pie from the open window of the impoverished widow Miss Anstruther. He denied it, but his fireplace is full of pastry crumbs.
Mr. Morpurgo has been telling everyone he has seen an Unidentified Flying Object in the town. He claims that in late December, at about dusk, he saw a cigar-shaped object whirring across the sky away from him, and felt it scattered some hot fragments in its wake as it fled. This, he insists, is proof, although he was sitting in the town square just outside Wilkins’ Cigar Emporium, around the time of day Wilkins throws out his unused stock.
Mr. Murray has developed a mania for all manner of things beginning with ‘O’, and has become something of a dreadful bore on the subject. otters, orcas, ocelots and opals. He insists these pointless nuggets of trivia shall come in handy one day, perhaps in a theatrical performance; frankly, we have our doubts, and would be far happier if he were consigned to an asylum for the terminally dull.
Ms Cooke-Hodgson has invented a new vegetable she claims she intends to cook with. The carrsnip, a cross between a carrot and parsnip, is a most magnificent vegetable, with all the colour of the one and the shape of the other. She insists that in future, Christmas dinners shall have no need of a Carrot Section and separate Parsnip Zone, and that her new vegetable will have swept all before it. We hope she is right, as she has spent her whole inheritance on the idea.
Ms Parris has been penning rude songs about the Prince Regent, and performing them for selective crowds of young people in the town. Some of the songs are mild, and simply based on amusing misunderstandings of the word ‘plum’, but others are very rude indeed, seem almost designed to provoke litigation, and if Miss Parris is not careful she will be seized by the King’s Guardsmen and left in a cell until she’s realllllllly sorry.
Ms Gittins has been on a tour her management have termed ‘The Balls of the Continent’. From Vienna to Amsterdam and at every town in between, she has been performing her improvisations with great success and no little genius, adeptly adapting her performance to the whims of the crowd. It is believed she has a retinue of fans who would either kill or die for a single glance from her, which she finds very tiresome.
Ms Lloyd has taken a new protégé under her wing. She and her young companion are seldom seen apart; they go everywhere together, and are indeed quite inseparable. They gossip together, and are surely quite the most natural and delightful pair of souls to be found in the whole village.
“…autumn, that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness…” PERSUASION
The Austentatious Grand Tour is drawing to a close, but residents of Cranleigh, Lincoln, Bromsgrove, Lancaster, Kendal and London may still catch us before the year is out. The Times most graciously included us in their list of the ‘30 best shows to book for Christmas’ !
If you cannot join us in person, fear not. The Cast have been working tirelessly to entertain the nation, so why not feast your eyes upon their individual exploits below?
Amy Cooke-Hodgson has lent her talents to a thrilling array of projects of late, including this stellar turn for Save the Children. Off-screen, she has been baking like a goddess and designing creative delights under the sweet guise of Rowley & Cooke.
Andrew Hunter Murray is scattering fact catnip across the land in BBC Two’s No Such Thing As The News, and we are proud to report that his searing wit in both the QI and Private Eye podcasts has garnered him a prestigious award-nomination!
Cariad Lloyd has graced screens far and wide with recent appearances on QI and 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. On the wireless, she has waxed lyrical on literature and improvisation for BBC Radio’s A Good Read and The Comedy Club.
Charlotte Gittins committed flagrant crimes against the English language in this short sketch, shot at the OED. Behind-the-scenes, she has been working with another beloved acronym, the BBC, filming documentaries in Russia and Romania.
Daniel Nils Roberts’s dulcet tones may be enjoyed in these podcasts, in which he performs alongside his Racing Minds cohorts. His film-making prowess, complete with a modest, yet masterful cameo, may also be admired here.
Graham Dickson is, ironically, too funny for words in this short film heralding the Collins 2016 Word of the Year. You may also spy him in Channel 5’s Borderline and on stage at The FA’s Charity Weekender from 26th-27th November.
Joseph Morpurgo has been commissioned by BBC Radio 4 to create a comedy series: Joseph Morpurgo’s Walking Tour. He appeared with Cariad and Rachel in Murder in Successville and stunned BBC Three with lost EastEnders plots.
Rachel Parris was declared Best Musical Comedy Act by What’s On London! Enjoy her lyrical prowess in this most athletic of music videos, catch her on stage in December and eagerly await her appearance in BBC Two’s Revolting.
Our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who joined us for our Crosstentatious charity special in January. Thanks to the generosity of our audience and those who donated raffle prizes, we managed to raise £3134.46 for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund!
Thank you to our wonderful audience and to our noble raffle benefactors: Benefit UK, QI, Mischief Theatre, Faber & Faber, PBJ Management, Leicester Square Theatre and Rowley & Cooke. Thanks too to our noble technician, Jon Monkhouse, our fine musicians, Corrina Connor and Oliver Izod, and photographer Damian Robertson, for donating their time.
As for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, our admiration for them knows no bounds. Should you ever find yourself in possession of a good fortune, they are always most thankful for donations, all of which go towards a truly life-saving cause. We salute them!