Hugs achieved: x1
“It’s all driven by comedy”, says Andrew Keen as he discusses the upcoming 2017 Melbourne Fringe Festival show ‘Dr Duck’. Coming off a successful 2016 Melbourne Fringe and 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Andrew is keen to maintain momentum and put together another quality show. Andrew notes that since he started ‘Dr Duck’, the central idea has been to find “what is funniest”. For him and the other writers and performers, it is about each of the “sketches standing out on their own merit”. He adds, “it’s a simple idea…but a driving idea”.
Andrew appears grateful for the support he has behind ‘Dr Duck’, particularly for his co-conspirator Dean Watson. “Dean is better at organising stuff…making phone calls…chasing up leads”, whereas “I have ideas and get lazy” says Andrew. These jokes aside, putting on a production is not easy and faces many challenges, including financial burdens such as “paying registration, venue hire, insurance, posters and flyers”. “We would love to get to the point where we can pay writers and performers to do this… but at this level, it takes a bit to get there”. Considering this, Andrew notes the importance of having a team behind you that is passionate about the project and who are prepared to do it for the love of it…and these people are:
- Actors: Andrew Keen, Susie Kazda, Liam Howarth, Chloe Towan, Rian Howlett and Lara McArthur-Dowty.
- Writers: Andrew Keen, Dean Watson, Lily O’Farrell, Ross Purdy and Justin Bechtold.
- Additional material: Sal Hicks and Dan Beacom.
The ‘Dr Duck’ production team have been proactive in looking for a balanced cast. Andrew has found diversity “adds so much to it”. A key goal for Andrew is maintaining a gender balance that has improved their sketches, broadened their appeal and helped them cover new and “different things”.
Andrew notes that the team of writers “lean to thoughtful comedy…everything has intelligence behind it”. He describes the lengthy process and preparation for the 2017 Melbourne Fringe festival including “eleven weeks of writers meetings”, which has allowed the team to pitch their respective ideas and workshop them until they have the strongest material to work with. The tailored auditioning process has meant they have a group of actors “who have range”, which Andrew notes is vital for sketch, “…we wouldn’t take Michael Cera” he adds.
“Sketch is starting to come back…it’s like we missed a couple of generations…(when) the catchphrases became part of the vernacular…we’ve missed that”, says Andrew discussing his passion for the form. Referencing the “stand-up dominated” scene, Andrew notes that the momentum is in sketch’s favour with the success of recent less traditional comedy performances including 2017 Barry Award nominee Tom Walker and the globe-trotting Aunty Donna.
Andrew appears hopeful ‘Dr Duck’ can become part of this “resurgence”, as their show is offering something that is well crafted but also “approachable”. Sketch offers “different things for different people…if you watch one sketch and it’s not for you, the next one will be…each one has it’s own world”, he says. Andrew assures me that ‘Dr Duck’ will have “broad appeal” but certainly “not be beige”.
Check out ‘Dr Duck’ at the Courthouse Hotel from 13 to 21 September 2017. For more information and to buy tickets, click here. Also keep an eye out on Dr Duck’s YouTube channel for a taste and more content to come.
If you are a comedian, get in touch and we can sit down for an interview to talk about comedy. Or if you have a 2017 Melbourne Fringe Festival show you want to talk about or want reviewed, contact Hugging Comedians on Facebook, Twitter or through the website.