BWW Interview: Bryony Corrigan Chats MAGIC GOES WRONG at the Vaudeville Theatre
She spoke to BroadwayWorld about her career and her current role in Magic Goes Wrong at the Vaudeville Theatre.
Who inspired you most growing up?
My favourite programme of all time is The Green Wing. I was 12 when it first aired, and it's certainly one of the things that inspired me most as a child and made me excited about comedy and improvisation.
Also, the RSC always toured to Newcastle Theatre Royal, and Tamsin Greig and Michelle Gomez from that were the leads in Much Ado and Taming of the Shrew. It was so inspiring to see the people I had watched and loved and laughed at on TV suddenly doing something very different and serious live on stage!
How did you get involved with Mischief Theatre?
I met them at LAMDA, where most of us trained. They had an improv show at the time called Lights! Camera! Improvise!, and one summer I ended up doing a different improv show at the Edinburgh Fringe called This Is Soap.
They all came to see it, having already seen me do some improv and shows at LAMDA, and asked me to audition for the company. I was asked to join in 2011 and started performing with them that year at the Hen and Chickens Theatre Bar and various Fringe Festivals.
Congrats on opening in Magic Goes Wrong. Are you having fun with it?
I'm having SO MUCH FUN! I get to run around in a sparkly suit with my best mates and fall over and get things wrong. It's a dream.
How did you find the collaborative process of crafting this show with Penn and Teller?
Penn flew over during rehearsals to keep an eye on the magic and suggest how we could be doing it better, which was extremely helpful. Aside from Henry Lewis and Laurence Pears, none of us had ever performed magic before, so it was quite a challenge.
He was such a positive person to have in the room. We are very grateful to have had his help and input - and of course to have been gifted all of their amazing tricks!
Do you have a favourite moment in the show?
I love the teleprompter boys playing with Mind Mangler's Autocue. It makes me laugh in the wings every day.
How did you find filming The Goes Wrong Show compared to working on stage?
It was the most fun I've ever had! I loved the familiarity of running each episode like a stage show with a live audience, but then the challenge of also being aware that there are six cameras on you, picking up your every eye movement and facial expression all the time.
I've been told a lot that I have a very expressive face, so I constantly had to be aware of keeping it as natural as possible for the camera, It's hard, man.
Also, our director Martin Dennis is a superhero. I loved working with him. I don't know how he managed to put up with all of us. I learnt so much from him.
Do you have a favourite character you've played in The Goes Wrong Show?
I loved Camille in The Pilot. It's not every day you get to live out your dream of playing a French cryptologist in the 1940s, whilst also playing the comedy of being shocking at languages.
But I also adored Mrs Hargreaves. As soon as I read the script and saw the line about the thermometer and "the rump", I knew she was going to be a cracking one.
What do you think is the secret to Mischief Theatre's success?
Hard work and tenacity. I also think our bond as friends and our love for one another and of comedy is huge. We support each other, we make each other laugh, we make each other feel good - and that is a huge part of being confident enough to make your own work.
How do you look after yourself when performing such physical stunts?
A physical and vocal warm-up is essential for me! I ADORE doing stunts and slapstick. I will throw myself into them full throttle, which I think can scare the producers somewhat.
I'm of the opinion if it doesn't look convincing, don't bother. But, I mean... never put your other actors or yourself in danger. I do not advocate that.
Any advice for aspiring performers, particularly in the art of comedy?
Be a positive presence in any room. People make their best work when they feel confident and appreciated, so be that person. Be kind and notice everyone in the room.
Maybe stage management are in helping pass you your props and set your big tricks or cuing your slapstick? The timing of those things will make you look good on stage, so treat them as you would your fellow actors. They are part of the company!
Don't judge yourself too harshly, and remember that doing comedy is as skilled and important and technical as being in serious plays. You aren't the lesser art form.
If you could have any magic power, what would you choose?
Time jump! Imagine. Although I'd go back and be clumsy and knock something over and then it changes the course of history forever. Actually, that would be terrible. Far too much power. I don't enjoy that much responsibility.
Why should people come to Magic Goes Wrong?
It's so much fun! You get to sit back and laugh for two hours, and also see some pretty mind-blowing magic at the same time.
Magic Goes Wrong at the Vaudeville Theatre until 30 August
Photography credit: Robert Day