Lords of Strut: Raising the bar for top-class silliness

Lords of Strut are among a diverse range of acts playing the Quarter Block Party in Cork this weekend, writes Colette Sheridan.

The premise behind the latest show from the comedic double act, the Lords of Strut, is that two characters, waiting tables, are wannabe world famous dancers.

The site specific show will take place at Tony’s Bistro on Cork’s North Main Street as part of the Quarter Block Party — a weekend festival now in its third year that celebrates the historic spine of the city using unusual locations for performance, music and other art forms.

The Lords of Strut are Cork man, Cormac Mohally and Carlow native, Cian Kinsella. Regulars on the comedy circuit, the duo say they like to set challenges for themselves.

“We’re known for dancing and acrobatics,” says Mohally. “Put us in a situation where dance and acrobatics can’t really happen and we’ll succeed in making it happen. We cause our own problem. The audience watches us deal with the problem.”

In Tony’s Bistro, the waiters, understood to be nephews of Tony, will sit people down and serve them water.

“The show will start when we turn on a big spotlight that will focus on us. We’ll pull out some of our dance routines and will see if we can use a frying pan as a prop for some slapstick. We’re really interested in doing a show in Tony’s Bistro because it allows us that direct narrative of what we’ve done before we were internationally renowned dancers. It’s about the dreams and hopes of someone who works as a waiter in their uncle’s cafe.”

The audience will be very much part of the show. “We are always breaking the fourth wall. We never ignore the audience. Magic moments happen on stage when things go wrong. The event in Tony’s Bistro is only going to happen once. We’re going to do routines that we know. We’ll give ourselves a rough guide as to where we want things to go. But we’ll ride the wave of performing, seeing what the audience finds funny.”

The Lords of Strut take their comedy seriously. In the Philippe Gaulier school of clowning in Paris where Mohally and Kinsella trained, following in the footsteps of alumni such as Sacha Baron Cohen, the advice is that once the audience laughs at something, “you do it again and keep giving it to them”.

That said, the Lords of Strut, have a plan for the end of the show in Tony’s Bistro. “It involves a car and a sound system that’s loud enough to take over North Main Street.”

A lot of thought goes into the shows. “In our show, Late Night TV Talk Show, we wanted to say something. At the end of the day, we want to be funny. You might miss the fact that underlying it all, it has a point. We got a terrible review once. The reviewer wrote that despite us being on the stage for an hour, ‘These two Irish boys had nothing to say.’ But that’s actually what we wanted to say.” In other words, the Lords of Strut’s act was the embodiment of the shallow world of celebrity.

The ‘theory of life’ that guides the Lords of Strut is to just do. “You’ve got to get up each day and do stuff. It’s simple but then most things in life are simple. People just complicate them.”

What is the dynamic between Mohally and Kinsella (both in their mid 30s) in real life? “I would be a little more practical than Cian so I do all the flight booking and the administration. Cian is a bit more creative in terms of blurbs for our shows, imagery and quite often, the direction of the show. He provides the framework to play within on stage. He definitely has more of a vision as to what will be funny on stage.”

So far, it’s proven to be a perfect combination.

The Lords of Strut will perform Tony’s Bistro on Saturday at 7pm. See details at www.quarterblockparty.com

Sample attractions

  • History & Nature Tours, Friday- Sunday: Some of these guided walks will focus on the history and culture of Cork’s streets, while others will deal with the flora and fauna that inhabit the city.
  • Lowli, tonight, The Friary, 7pm: Cork’s own Roisin Lowry combines orchestral-influenced instrumentation with haunting vocal melodies.
  • Brigid Mae Power, tonight, St Peters Church: The Galway singer-songwriter has been generating much praise in recent times.
  • Super Silly, Saturday, The Roundy, €10: The Dublin family have obvious gospel influences from their church upbringing, and sprinkle this with plenty of RnB and hip-hop.
  • Cork Triptych, Firkin Crane, Sunday: Three very different solo dance pieces by choreographers Laura Murphy, Maria Svensson and Cathy Walsh.

 



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