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DEAR TEACHERS, PROFESSORS AND THEATRE GROUP ORGANISERS
Isn’t it time to enjoy a real live - and CRAZY - theatre experience with your students ? I’d like to welcome into the splendid Glassalen in Tivoli to see the Crazy Christmas 2023 ….
THE HOUSE OF UHYGGE
THE THING THAT WOULDN’T DIE!
I started the London Toast Theatre in 1982 with the first Crazy Christmas show in a tiny cafe theatre in Copenhagen, and now this is the 40th show that I have written, directed and performed in . We are now Denmark’s largest English-language theatre company, and every year we present our popular Christmas show in Tivoli. It is a real roller-coaster ride of a show, full of toe-tapping tunes, jokes, slapstick comedy, satire, and best of all - audience participation !
To celebrate the 40 year Anniversary of our Crazy Christmas Show we present “The House of Uhygge “, another dead funny show and this time with a theme of HORROR !
Why a horror theme this year ?
“Horror” is a theme that everyone can relate to. Especially children, who love to be scared out of their wits. My 14 year old granddaughter enjoys watching scary movies featuring vampires, zombies and all manner of nasty creatures and, let’s be honest, many of the fairy tales we read to small children are full of frightening plots and evil characters.
I do not write my shows for children, I write for an audience of adults, and, although the shows are in English, they are easy to understand. In previous shows I have parodied many world leaders - and scary ones like Trump, Putin, Boris Johnson, Kim Jon Un etc - but this year I decided to ignore them because I think that their influence on world events is not funny anymore. Instead, this year, I focus on the ethics of science versus nature and I make fun of the Wellness Industry - especially Gwyneth Paltrow’s multi-million Wellness company called GOOP - with its over-priced and non-medically approved products. I also refer to the block-buster movie “Barbie “ .
What was my inspiration ?
Today there is an increasing fear of scientific progress and what it can do to change our lives. So to write this horror-themed show, I was originally inspired by “ The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”, a gothic novella written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886.
This is an extraordinary story of a respectable scientist who discovers a potion which brings out his “dark side “ of the human psyche. He calls this side of himself “Mr Hyde” and when he becomes this person, he feels the freedom to be savage and cruel to the extreme. Soon he cannot control the effects of the drug and changes into the evil character uncontrollably.
The idea of the scientist taking his discovery or inventions beyond theory - and without proper control, made me think of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the brilliant physicist who plays a pivotal role behind the Manhattan Project in developing the atom bomb. In this year’s show, I have amalgamated these characters, into J. Robert Jekyll, who invents his drug “Jekyll Juice “ with drastic results. He invites evil creatures to The House of Uhygge so that he can experiment with their blood and make his evil potion into a weapon of destruction. When the Lord of the vampires, Count Dracula, arrives with his bride, Necrophilia, all hell breaks loose. And the fun begins !
Fasten your safety belts !
It is not really necessary to study anything to enjoy my crazy show . But I would recommend that a knowledge of Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde novella, and a discussion with students about its meaning and how it relates to our lives in the 21st century would be interesting.
In addition , a viewing of the brilliant documentary about Oppenheimer, entitled, “ To End All War “ is a good idea. It is much better ( and much shorter ) than the Christopher Nolan movie “Oppenheimer “.
Get ready to die laughing !
Most important of all , I can guarantee that your student groups will be thoroughly entertained by The House of Uhygge in the wonderful Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. They will listen to an English language show which is easy to follow , laugh at the antics of the comedy actors on stage, and go home singing the songs and - who knows ? - maybe have second thoughts about taking drugs, especially if they are a evil potion called “Jekyll Juice“ and are an alarming shade of red.
We all need an injection of fun to cure our winter blues and this year Dr Jekyll and his frightening friends will pump you with a potion that will have you doubled over with laughter ! There is nothing like a good laugh for bringing people together - so bring your group of students for a crazy night out in Tivoli ’s Glassalen.
Come along and have an “uhyggelig” evening with us !
PS: Feel free to download our Teaching Material "The Origins and Transitions of the British Pantomine" below
Call Søren B Petersen 40534949 for the fantastic offer for student groups starting at only 40 kroner pr. ticket or send him an email email@example.com
TEACHING MATERIAL: The Origins and Traditions of the British Pantomime
In Denmark, we mostly associate Pantomime with the classic, wordless performances of Harlequin, Columbine and Pierrot in Tivoli. If you are invited to a Christmas Pantomime in England, do go but don't expect a similar experience. The English pantomime is a unique theatre genre that only really exists in the United Kingdom. It is extremely popular and every year theatres are completely sold out to an audience of all ages, backgrounds and tastes.
Traditionally, adults take their children to the "Panto" as a Christmas treat but often the adults have the most fun. The mad knockabout comedy of the pantomime, where people are hit but not hurt, where authority is constantly flouted and where fun is poked at everything from past to present, has had a great influence on the well known British "crazy" humour of for instance Monty Python's Flying Circus.
The Pantomime is as English as Fish 'n' Chips and pints of lukewarm beer - and Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without it.
Shake up your students ! Blow their minds ! Make them laugh out loud !
And do all this in one English class !
London Toast Theatre has produced a hilarious 40 minute filmed show called “SHAKIN’ UP SHAKESPEARE”. A roller coaster ride through Shakespeare’s most famous works including “Romeo and Juliet” with Andrew Jeffers and David Bateson in the leading roles, and the most famous play in the English language, “Hamlet ” with Vivienne McKee starring as the Danish prince.
“Shakin’ Up Shakespeare”, together with accompanying Teaching Material, has been tailor-made to encourage your students to appreciate the genius of William Shakespeare, the intricacies of the English language and the use of comedy in an educational context.
During the film, the actors play different roles and also chat about their own knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays :
David : I know all of the titles of Shakespeare’s plays in Danish ..
Andrew: You don’t !
David : I do. “Romeo OG Julie”, “Antony OG Cleopatra”, “Hamlet”.
And I know the titles of the comedies too … “Otello “.
Andrew: “Othello “ isn’t a comedy !
David : Well I laughed when you played it.
We learn about Shakespeare’s audiences:
Vivienne : At the GlobeTheatre, the important, aristocratic people sat at the back in the galleries, and the common people stood up close so that they wouldn’t miss anything .
Ha! Nothing much has changed ! Stop checking your phones !
Vivienne introduces the different ways of acting Shakespeare from the traditional Lawrence Olivier style to the post-modern Al Pacino method :
David : “It’s not so much post, it’s more of an email approach… I believe in punching out the poetry, slicing through the symbolism, kicking the hell out of the imagery and rubbing up against the raw animal emotion.“
And that is what he does for most of the show !
On top of all that, this fun-packed film is followed by a “live” Q&A with the 3 actors on ZOOM
Vivienne McKee, David Bateson and Andrew Jeffers are well-known for their wacky performances in the annual Crazy Christmas shows and after the film, they are happy to chat with the students online, and answer any questions. They tell the students stories about their theatrical backgrounds: including Andrew’s experience of playing Othello with a robot , Vivienne’s Stand Up comedy glitches, David’s internationally popular computer-game character, “Hitman” and of course, questions about Shakespeare and his work !
As one student commented :
"Man forstår meget nemmere de forskellige skuespil af Shakespeare nu, og at det faktisk kan være fornøjeligt at arbejde med. Ydermere var det rigtigt dejligt at møde folkene bag »Shakin` Up Shakespeare«. Det gav en forståelse af den kreative proces bag stykket - og gjorde hele oplevelsen meget mere speciel.”
Cecilie Patricia Nielsen, elev i Active English-klassen, 10. klassecenteret, Xclass i Slagelse