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The Bean Spillers - Interview

Improvisation duo Sam Cochrane and Alex Prescot aka The Bean Spillers are bringing their hysterical show to The Leicester Comedy Festival on Saturday 19th February with a show at Upstairs at the Western at 7.30pm.

The show sees the duo alongside special guest Hannah Platts and pianist Sam Peña take a piece of gossip from the audience and turn it into a completely improvised musical extravaganza.

I spoke with the duo, Sam and Alex, who explained "Our show’s a completely improvised musical, which means the plot, characters, songs, choreography, and dialogue are all made up on the spot! We ask the audience for gossip, take the craziest story and show them what happens next. For example, the gossip for our first ever show was ‘my great uncle was murdered by his best friend over his £80 bingo winnings’ - what ensued was a buddy cop drama come Sweeney Todd parody which saw said best friend become a bingo serial killer! We can promise you a show which allows audiences to escape the outside world, let loose and have a well-needed laugh.

Both came into improv during their time at university "We both did youth theatre together when we were younger and performed in 2 musicals a year, which definitely helped when beginning to make them up on the spot! It felt like a logical next step at uni to go from performing in lots of musicals growing up to improvising them, so that was very much both of our routes in. Also, we have been very lucky with the incredible guests we’ve had so far – we learn loads just from performing a single show with them!"

Sam explained where the show originated from "It kind of started at parties when Alex would tipsily whack out his keyboard (not a euphemism) and we’d make up silly songs about people. We wanted to combine that with something which everyone could relate to - that’s why we decided the show would be all about gossip."

With audiences offering their gossip every night I asked what had been the best one they've had so far "Someone’s headmaster was caught cheating with his secretary by his wife…who was also a headmaster of a rival school!".

I asked the duo if they were to improvise a musical about themselves, what would they call it "The Phantom of Small Audience Numbers (it would never sell)."

As mentioned at the start the pair are bringing the show to the Leicester Comedy Festival on Saturday 19th February, this is something that massively excites them "It’s been on our bucket list for years and we can’t wait to improvise with our special guest local improviser Hannah Platts! We want audiences to have a fun night out and for one lucky audience member to see their story on steroids."

Finally, I closed on why audiences should choose to come and see The Bean Spillers. "You’ll get laughs by the bucketload, singing by the songload and potentially even some dancing too (if you’re lucky!). It’s also a properly live experience after our months on Zoom - every show is completely different (especially as we improvise with a different special guest and pianist each show). Also who doesn’t love gossip?!  
And don’t just take our word for it, here’s some audience reactions from our shows in Bath:

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