An Interview with Laura Mugridge, Creator of The Watery Journey of Nereus Pike

This week deep down in the depths of the Bristol Old Vic Basement something is stirring… something joyous, something with rave music, and something with more nautical jumpers than you can shake a stick at. No! It’s not a cheerful hipster octopus stolen from Bristol Aquarium, that something is Laura Mugridge and her show, The Watery Journey of Nereus Pike. After wowing audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe last year we invited her to Bristol, and we jumped at the opportunity to interview her for the blog.

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You describe yourself as a comedian, improviser, theatre maker and writer. What can’t you do?
I can’t cook rice. It always turns out like something you’d grout your bathroom with.* I also can’t tell the different between Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro.

Who is Nereus Pike?
He is a man whose face I had very clearly in my head before I started making this show. He is now the main character in the show, someone who suddenly senses he’s not quite in the right place.

What inspired you to tell his story?
I knew I wanted to make a show about the sea, as I find it so fascinating. More people have been into space than have been to the bottom of the ocean. That’s bonkers. Nereus’s personal story sort of snuck in there too, so the show is a mixture of facts and his story. It’s a love story, really. With squid.

What else can we expect from the show?
Expect an original musical score that is performed live, animations, some Van Halen, a chance to be playful and a fact about the filming of the film ‘Splash.’

Who else is involved with the show?
I made it in collaboration with Tom Adams, who composed the music, and Katy Schutte who is an amazing improviser. We had a ridiculous amount of fun making the show. We made up a dance to keep us motivated in rehearsals which inevitably made it into the show as we liked doing it so much.

Describe your ideal audience member.
Someone who is open to seeing something different, is up for being playful, possibly wearing a nautical jumper and is ready to wow us with a fact about the sea. Or just someone smiley, really.

What’s next for you and the show?
The current tour of the show finishes in June but I hoping to be doing it again the Spring. I’ve just started making a new show for families, with Tom Frankand. It’s called Tony and Mike and is about an owl and a squirrel. That’ll be premiering at The Lowry in Salford in September. There are puppets, clouds on skateboards, and a bit of dancing too. I’m really excited about it.

The Watery Journey of Nereus Pike runs at Bristol Old Vic from the 28 May-1 Jun. Find out more here.

*For people experiencing this problem Bristol Old Vic marketing team believe this may be because Laura is stirring the rice more than once, and not rinsing it until the water runs clear. If you have any further tips, Laura would much appreciate them.

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