How onstage and offstage friendship fuels Potted success

Dan and Jeff, the double act behind the successful Potted series of family shows, celebrate a decade of working together next year. Here, they talk about how their friendship has survived ten years and four shows, and how it differs on and off the stage.

Dan and Jeff

Dan and Jeff (actually, Jeff and Dan here)

Jeff: People tend to think Dan’s a complete idiot offstage like he is onstage, which I enjoy an awful lot. But seriously, considering the amount of time we spend together, we have to be friends. When we’re on tour, we work together, live together and socialize together. Luckily, Dan’s a really easygoing guy and I’m reasonably easygoing so we get on well.

 

Dan: Over the years, it’s fair to say our relationship has become brotherly. There is love, even though there are times when we want to rip each other’s heads off. There’s that unrequited… wait, not unrequited-

 

Jeff: Oh! I was wondering where this was going!

 

Dan: What I meant to say was unconditional love, an unconditional love that now exists between us. So you can have a day of being annoyed and we both know each other well enough that it doesn’t matter.

 

Jeff: We’ve never actually had a row. We’ve bickered, we’ve snapped. But, if one wants to be alone, we just walk off and go have a coffee.

 

Dan: When we finished Potted Potter earlier this year, we had a long time off, and it was, ‘okay, you go do your thing and I’ll do mine’.

 

Jeff: We barely contacted each other for six weeks.

 

Dan: You need that every once in awhile so you can have a good conversation when you come back. Otherwise, it’s ‘hey, guess what I did yesterday?’ ‘I know, I was with you yesterday, I saw exactly what you did’.

 

Jeff: Not that we’re often short of conversation. The good thing is that, pretty much universally, we find the same things funny. When we do spend all of our time together, the main topic of conversation is ‘have you seen this video on YouTube?’

 

And how does the double act interact with others? Potted director Hanna Berrigan and Lizzie Wort, the first co-star to join the Potted team, give their views.

Lizzie: When double acts work together that long, it could go two ways – you’re either two peas in a pod or you loathe each other and never speak offstage. These two are very much peas. The banter continues. And they’re very welcoming to others. They’re open-hearted, arms wide open. Everyone’s part of the team and you all roll up your sleeves and get on with it. It feels like a family bubble when we’re in our rehearsal room together.

 

Hanna: I think their friendship is a big part of their appeal to audiences too. It’s a friendship that everyone can really relate: these two people play tricks on each other and there’s a lot of one-upmanship, but deep down, they really like other, there’s admiration and even love. That’s fun and you get a comfortable feeling watching it. So you come out of the theatre feeling energized and positive.

 

– Dan and Jeff’s latest show, Potted Sherlock, premieres at Pleasance Courtyard, 30 July to 25 August 2014 at 14:50 (runs 1 hour 10 minutes).

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