Sketch duo LetLuce (Lucy Pearman and Letty Butler) were responsible for one of the finest shows we saw at the Edinburgh Fringe this year.
For an hour a day the large, damp, cavernous room at The Caves was transformed into a underwater world populated with a bitter sea captain, a naive fish looking for love and Peter and Karen, the weirdest party hosts since Noel Edmonds and Mr Blobby.
Next week Londoners get the chance to dip their toes in the water when LetLuce bring Sea Men (A Naval Tale) to the Soho Theatre.
Hey you two, how you doing?
Letty Butler: Couldn’t be better if we tried. Been unspeakably busy hoovering the red carpet for our West End debut. I’m so excited I’ve made a countdown wall chart in the style of an advent calendar.
Lucy Pearman: I’m alright, I’ve just shown Letty a video on you tube and it did not get the response I was expecting though so I’m a bit disappointed.
LB: Sorry but it took me by surprise. I was expecting yet another animal-based one not a strange chubby man dancing with his tiny little cock out.
How did you start working together? Was it comedy love at first sight?
LP: We met at LAMDA; a drama school where people like Benedict Cumberbatch trained but I’m not sure what happened to him. I was scared of Letty because she was wearing a very posh fur gilet and chain smoking.
LB: Nothing’s changed.
How did you survive Edinburgh? Your room seemed to be striking down most comics who performed in there with the lurgy.
LB: Ah. We put it down to our hardy upbringings: Lucy grew up on a farm & has been cradling piglets from the age of 3. Letty descends from a military background & has been training her liver (via the medium of absinthe) since 1993.
LP: I didn’t find a single pig in Edinburgh though.
Did you always plan to have a strong narrative show, or did it just evolve that way?
LB: Our first show was a sketch show which was fun but not particularly satisfying. We knew from then we wanted our next show to have a narrative. Albeit a weird one. If you tell a story the audience is more compelled to invest in the characters, get sucked into your world & allow themselves to be taken on an adventure. We like to think of it as hitting comedy with a theatrical bat.
Who is your favourite character to play in the show?
LB: Peter the Hunchback. He’s just so thrilled to be up there, singing his fishy ditties & making people touch his basket. He’s got a life of his own – I never know what might come out once I’ve shoved that wadding down my gum & my foot in that little wicker basket.
LP: Probably Karen. My favourite bit is shaking her balloon boobies at a man in the front row.
LB: I HATE it when you say boobies.
LB: No. Even worse.
How many fish puns were you tempted to put in the show and how many found apPlaice in the script?
LP: Sea what you did there. We wanted to push the boat out and have loads but Lucy pulled a muscle and Letty clammed up and couldn’t think of any. So we’ve only got one and it’s about getting battered.
We digged your nautically themed pre-show playlist (The Salmon Dance is a monster tune), do you have a particular favourite sea based track?
LB: Well I mean the salmon track’s fantastic. But the Bubba Sparks little mermaid mash up is unbeatable. Next time you’re too depressed/hungover/livid to function put it on & just you try not to cheer up.
LP: I’m quite keen to add ‘Nookie Tonight’ by Jamesy P. Its not sea based but it sums up the crabs pretty well.
Finally,If a Naval Tale was being turned into a Hollywood movie who would you want to direct and who do you want in the lead roles?
James Griffiths or Steve Bendelack. Both are complete legends of gigantic proportion. We’d have Sonia from Eastenders in Lucy’s roles & Monica Lewinsky in Letty’s. The physical similarities are stunning.