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British Comedy legend Joe Thomas joins the party with ‘Crown Jewels’ at the Lowry

Laugh till you cry with Joe Thomas, Mel Giedroyc, and Al Murray in "Crown Jewels" at The Lowry, where history meets hilarity!
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Joe Thomas has been a consistently hilarious presence on the British comedy scene since first appearing in The Inbetweeners in 2008.

Since the show’s conclusion in 2010, Joe has demonstrated amazing talent in a number of different disciplines from stand-up comedy to screenwriting.

We caught up with him to talk about his new show Crown Jewels, a brand new historical comedy ahead of its run at The Lowry Theatre later this month!

Following a successful run on the West End Crown Jewels tells the incredible true story of Colonel Blood as he tries to steal the crown jewels of reigning monarch King Charles II from right under his nose.

Starring British comedy legends Mel Giedroyc and Al Murray it promises to be an unforgettable lark!

Mel Giedroyc and Al Murray

Are you excited about spending time in Manchester? Have you worked here before?

I’m very excited to be in Manchester! I’ve worked here before but this will be the longest I’ve stayed.

I haven’t actually ever gone sightseeing so I’ll have to have a look around.

You are someone who’s had a career in both theatre and TV, what would you say is the biggest difference between the two?

In TV you’re basically treated like a child.

Everything is pretty much sorted for you, you’re picked up and driven to where you need to be and just told what time you need to turn up.

With theatre, you’re treated like an adult and it’s assumed you can do things.

I still need to arrange my accommodation, but to be honest I’m considering just asking if any of my cast members want to share a hotel room.

Either that or sleeping in my car, just put the passenger seat all the way down, it’s basically a king bed!

How do you think you’ll cope with the mix of the historical costumes and the heat?

It’s interesting because we’re essentially having an Indian summer  in the UK right now, but when the play was set they were experiencing a kind of other Ice Age, so it mirrors the story in a nice way.

During the rehearsals in June we were panicking because there’s no air conditioning in the Garrick Theatre during our West End run because it’s such an old building.

My costumes are made of a lot of cloth linens and tweed so it can be very hot.

But there’s a scene where I go to prison that’s quite relaxing because my costume is just a shirt and trousers!

I’d imagine it can feel quite vulnerable to first share a show with an audience, is it similar to the experience of doing Work in Progress shows before a stand up show?

Essentially our run at the Garrick was one big work in progress show.

Because it was just us rehearsing in a room together for so many weeks, we all know the show really well and we are all really proud of the material.

We know the story is strong so it was a relief when the audience responded to it and laughed at the parts I thought they would.

You, Mel Giedroyc and Al Murray have all appeared on different series’ of Taskmaster over the years, have you found that you’ve formed a support group for ex contestants?

There is a bit of that! Taskmaster is such a brilliant show but it is so revealing because you are attempting do insane things for the first time on camera knowing you’ll be judged later.

I walked away kind of feeling like I had been completely revealed because it really was just me reacting and genuinely trying.

But it is such a kind show and there is no sense that you’re being made to look stupid on purpose, it’s all very good natured and everyone is so lovely.

It’s become kind of a rite of passage for anyone in British comedy.

The  cast is made up of different very talented people, what has it been like working with everyone?

We really do all get on. It’s been so much fun and I think audiences are able to tell.

We’re just all having a really good time working together. It is a stacked cast, everyone in it is so talented.

Al is obviously just really funny and he’s so good at crowd work. He’s also really well read on the subject of the play so that adds something.

Mel is an amazing comic performer who’s just so good at what she does  and Carrie, on top of being an obviously amazing vocalist is also really really funny.

Aiden McArdle is also really good every show.

How has the audience reaction been?

We’ve been really lucky so far! Audiences are very receptive and it’s really interesting to see which bits get a laugh each performance because it can vary from place to place because every audience is different.

It is very interesting to watch as the audience becomes kind of like a singular hive mind in terms of their reactions and that’s a really nice thing; when a group of- essentially strangers- laugh at the same jokes.

why should audiences brave the heat to come and see the show?

It’s funny! And it’s escapism without being totally removed from real life.

There is actually a story so hopefully audiences can learn something while having a good time.

The play itself is really well researched.

It’s very much in the same vein of comedy as Black Adder: ironic but with a grain of truth.

It has the holiday feel of a pantomime so it is just genuinely a lot of fun!

Crown Jewels is showing at The Lowry Theatre from Tuesday 19th September – Saturday 23rd September 2023

Tickets are available by clicking here.

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