Patrick Monahan: Quizzing the kids with Story Pocket Theatre
By Caro Moses | Published on Sunday 21 August 2016
We are big fans of both Patrick Monahan and Story Pocket Theatre. In fact, we’ve given both of them a ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award. So of course we pricked up our ears when we heard that a plan was afoot this Fringe for the two former award winners to join up and create the brilliant-sounding family show ‘Pub Quiz For Kids’.
We’re very much looking forward to getting along to the show but, in the meantime, we thought we’d find out a bit more about it all by orchestrating a quick conversation with its star.
CM: Can you start by telling us all about ‘Pub Quiz For Kids’? What’s the format?
PM: ‘Pub Quiz For Kids’ is for any kid, or any adult any age really, anyone who’s ever answered questions, or danced, in their life. It’s like a game show for families, or anyone who likes winning prizes! I host the show, along with my fantastic co-hosts Emily and Will, and we have Ali and Adam on lights and sound. And of course, all the audience for backing dancing!
CM: This isn’t actually held in a pub though, is it?
PM: No, it’s not in a pub, it’s in the Billiard Room in the Gilded Balloon, but it feels like you’re in a family friendly pub, because we stick families together in pub quiz teams!
CM: How much knowledge is required?
PM: Knowledge is helpful, but it’s not essential, guessing is just as good and if you don’t know the answer but put down a really funny guess you could get a bonus point! The show is one hour full of action-packed fun with questions and dancing!
CM: Who came up with the idea?
PM: Adam and Ali from Story Pocket Theatre came up with this fantastic idea – I can’t believe no one has ever done it before!
CM: Obviously, you and Story Pocket Theatre have something in common – by which I mean a ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award – but what brought you together?
PM: As soon as I heard about the pub quiz idea and asked about it, I couldn’t not get involved. And one of me highlights of me many Edinburgh Festivals is winning the fantastic ThreeWeeks Editors’ award, so working with another ThreeWeeks award winner is a pleasure.
CM: You’ve done a number of children’s shows before in addition to your main stand-up show – what made you start doing that?
PM: I’ve done kids’ shows for years, but it was purely by accident to begin with. I always did adult shows, but because I don’t swear or do anything blue in me adult stand-up shows, I found the audience was getting younger and older! The typical audience for my 8pm evening show ranges from eight years old to a 108 years old… and so I thought might as well do some kids shows as well!
CM: Children can be a bit unpredictable to interact with during a performance – though I suppose adults can be too. How do they compare?
PM: Kids are always a great audience to perform to because they don’t need an alcoholic drink beforehand to loosen up! And they have no inhibitions about getting on stage dancing to Katy Perry, whereas adults need a couple of shots for encouragement!
CM: The pub quiz sounds like it’s a format that could be endlessly repeated – are there plans to keep it going on any kind of regular basis?
PM: It’s a perfect format to be on telly, it’s like ‘The Generation Game’, show but for kids. It’s going so well at the Festival that we’re hoping to take it on tour around the country and, who knows, maybe the world!
CM: Of course, this isn’t all you are doing this Fringe. Tell us more about ‘That 80s Show’.
PM: Every year I come to the Festival with a brand new stand-up show. And this year’s it’s about growing up in the 1980s in Britain, after my family moved to England in 1982 from Iran. So it’s all about being an Irish-Iranian kid trying to fit in.
CM: What is it that keeps you coming back to the Festival?
PM: The audiences are always amazing here, and the main reason I come back every year is because everyone really appreciates the show. Plus they stay to hug me afterwards, and sometimes even crowd-surf me during the show itself!
CM: I think you definitely qualify as a Fringe veteran. What one piece of advice would you offer to Festival newcomers?
PM: The Festival is exactly like a marathon: don’t sprint the first few miles or you’ll be throwing up by Week Two! Every day, do your shows and make sure you eat and sleep in between. No human or animal can survive without proper food or sleep for a month.
CM: What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you at the Fringe?
PM: I’ve had so many great experiences here, though I think one of the best times was doing a gig at someone’s house during the Festival, because I’d offered a personal performance to the highest bidder at a charity auction. I turned up, did the gig, and then helped them finish decorating their house!
CM: Where do you go from here? What’s next on the agenda?
PM: Straight after the Festival I’m going to sleep for two days in a dark room! Then I go back on tour all over the UK and overseas, and then I’m doing panto in Worthing at Christmas playing Hook. Then I’m doing a national tour of me ‘That 80s Show’ next year, while writing me new show for Edinburgh festival 2017!
‘Pub Quiz For Kids’ and ‘That 80s Show’ were performed at Gilded Balloon at Edinburgh Festival 2016.
Photo: Kat Gollock