Musical comedy double act House of Blakewell – aka Harry Blake and Alice Keedwell – took time out of rehearsals to tell us more about their brand-new show, I Have a Bad Feeling About This, premiering at VAULT Festival next week. Catch up here – and then get booking!
Multi award-winning duo House of Blakewell return to VAULT Festival with the first outing of their new comedy musical I Have a Bad Feeling About This. Following on from House Party and We Can Make You Happy, composer/performer duo Harry Blake and Alice Keedwell are back with a show about anxiety disorders… with show tunes, tap-dancing and woodwind battles.
Alice is newly married, has quit her job and moved to Berkhamsted (it’s in Hertfordshire) and it’s the best thing she’s ever done! She is going to be the woman she’s always wanted to be: cool and calm and free. She’s going to leave her self-loathing and destructive old friend anxiety firmly behind her and make NEW friends and they will LOVE the new her. BUT…. her old friend anxiety Harry has other ideas. Will she win the battle and leave anxiety behind forever?
I Have a Bad Feeling About This is created and performed by Harry Blake and Alice Keedwell, with music and lyrics by Blake. The show is created in collaboration with director Valentina Ceschi, choreographer Jennifer Fletcher and lighting designer Richard Williamson, and is produced by Hannah Elsy for Hannah Elsy Productions.
Why did you first form House of Blakewell?
Alice: We first met in 2007 when I was cast in a new musical at the Union Theatre. Harry wrote the music and lyrics and I loved singing his songs. I think from the start we had a strong connection between his style of songwriting and my style of performance. We became friends and then he wrote a standalone comedy song with me in mind to perform.
Harry: Alice sang it at a masterclass with Richard Thomas (who wrote Jerry Springer The Opera) and MyTheatreMates’ own Mark Shenton. After the performance, Richard told me to carry on writing songs for Alice, so I wrote ten more! We formed House of Blakewell and gave our first performance at the King’s Head in August 2012.
Alice: After that, we started co-creating and devising our shows together with our director Valentina Ceschi.
What do you like most about working together?
Alice: One of the best things for me is how we’ve developed a way of working together that plays to both our strengths but also pushes both of us in new directions. We know each other so well that we can quickly tell what we want from a piece of writing.
Harry: Performing with Alice is always a joy – it’s constantly surprising (in a good way) and there’s nothing quite like the feeling of standing onstage with your best friend performing something you’ve made together.
Alice: He often makes me sing a top E.
Harry: It’s only an E flat.
Musical theatre is a big part of your show. What’s your favourite musical?
Harry: My all-time favourite would have to be Gypsy, although I do have a big weakness for Miss Saigon. I also love old MGM movie musicals like Easter Parade and Singin’ in the Rain – I wanted to be Fred Astaire when I grew up!
Alice: I love Sunday in the Park with George, but Little Shop of Horrors is also a favourite. I love lots of different styles of musical so I don’t think I can pick only one showtune!
Why did you want to do a show about anxiety?
Alice: I battle with anxiety and I wanted to use my own experience to create a fun-filled musical comedy that raises awareness of this very common issue and maybe encourages people to be more open about sharing their vulnerabilities.
Harry: We were inspired by shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Ally McBeal, which blend surreal elements into the action brilliantly.
What makes you most anxious?
Alice: This could be a very long answer…. for me it’s often around social situations, particularly if I don’t know people well.
Harry: Voicemail messages. That icon in the corner of my screen always fills me with dread.
This is your third outing at VAULT Festival. What’s special about this event and how it’s developed?
Harry: We first performed at VAULT in 2014 and we’ve loved returning here ever since. The organisers have been amazingly supportive of us as a company and the audiences are the best.
Alice: There is an amazing atmosphere at the festival. We love meeting other companies and seeing so many different types of work. The bar is also VERY good.
Want to hear more?
Harry and Alice also recently gave interviews with Julian Eaves at BritishTheatre.com and the podcasters at Musical Talk. Click on the links below to read and listen.
I Have A Bad Feeling About This runs at the VAULT Festival* from Wednesday 21 February to Sunday 25 February 2018, with performances (60 minutes) nightly at 9.15pm and a 4.45pm matinee on Saturday 24 February. Tickets are priced £14.50. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
*The Network Theatre is located at 246a Lower Road, London SE1 8SJ. Note: This is a five-minute walk from The Vaults’ Leake Street Entrance where the box office is located.