INTERVIEW: Bethany Black | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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To paraphrase Chorley comedian Beth Black, comedy is like pizza. Everybody likes a Margherita pizza but then the more toppings you add the more people you put off until you end up with only dedicated fans of that particular pizza.

Beth is a comedian, actor and writer who has been performing for over twenty years having been critically acclaimed for her personal, confessional style of comedy and her new show, Always Bet On Beth is an extension of that. “It’s a show about how just before the pandemic I moved to the countryside and the interactions I’ve had [since] with my neighbours, my life tends to be quite ridiculous, [so] there is a story about a colonoscopy (that makes up quite a big part of it and some terrible mistakes I made which led to that), and it’s about conspiracy theories.”

The themes of the show will resonate with many, especially those living in rural areas. “With tour shows it’s more about finding my audience. When you start talking about the things you want to talk about you find your audience because people are interested in it. Connecting with an audience is something you do every six seconds on stage as one organism rather than individuals, so I fine-tune [the show] as I go along. It’s a conversation more than anything else, but where the audience only get to laugh.” It’s a particularly philosophical approach to comedy. “I love coming to the North East because it has evolved differently than it did in Manchester, London, or even Edinburgh. It really has a wonderful combination of the silly, surreal and really good observational stuff. It’s always a place where I’ve had fun.”

you have to be successful on your own terms and you will find people that really love what you do and rather see you than someone else

The tour runs until the end of May but Beth won’t be stopping there. “After the tour I’ll be writing the next one. I’ll be out on the circuit and trying to get TV projects off the ground. I write for Frankie Boyle’s TV show and I’m also writing for Joe Lycett’s new show for Channel 4.” Indeed, Joe has described Beth as comedy’s Henry Cavill.

With quite a stage CV behind her already I asked Beth why it is still so important to support the small independent theatres like Alphabetti. “[This show is] ninety minutes long but it doesn’t feel like that anymore. Most tour shows are an hour long but doing this, in terms of building and connecting with an audience, it’s absolutely vital. There is a magic to it. It has to have a symbiotic relationship.”

“The thing with art is you’ve never completed it, you never win, you never meet the final boss and think, ‘I’ve done that now.’ At the same time there is this weird idea that success is finite, but you have to be successful on your own terms and you will find people that really love what you do and rather see you than someone else. Sometimes you will get a pizza with pineapple, anchovies and olives on it and most people will go, ‘that’s disgusting’, but the sort of people who know that’s exactly what they want and like it so much better than anything else. So, I’m just trying to find those people!”

Bethany Black performs Always Bet On Beth at Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle on Saturday 29th April.

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