Q: Why have you formatted your 'about us' page in the form of a Q&A?
A: To make it less boring than it 100% is.
Q: Can you tell me about 'StraightUp Productions'?
A: Obviously, I am 'StraightUp Productions'?
A: What? I answered your question, didn't I?!
Q: When you were at school did you use to contradict your teacher using pointless facts you'd learnt on the television program QI?
Q: Aren't you worried that you've already used this Q&A gimmick on your homepage?
Q: Would you please tell me about 'StraightUp Productions?
A: Of course, though I warn you, it is very boring.
Q: I've made it this far down the 'About Us' page without having learnt a single thing about you. Clearly I desperately want to know.
Will Dalrymple and Mark Bittlestone met at Cambridge University, where Mark was a member of the Footlights, while Will Penswick and Mark were at school together where they wrote and performed in several productions. Mark, realising that where there are two Wills there must be a way, roped the disparate three together to form StraightUp.
Q: Was 'StraightUp' the only name you considered?
A: Absolutely not. Have a bullet-point list of some genuine rejectees...
- Here, Have Some Comedy
- Fag Packet (Will Dalrymple genuinely wanted to call us this. Will Penswick rejected it. Classic breeder!)
- Pint Of The Usual
- Et Voila
- Standing Ovation
- Just What I Wanted
- Top Notch
- In Stitches
Q: Thanks. Now continue to give me a sterile history of the company.
A: Founded in August 2017, StraightUp's first two productions Pity Laughs: A Tale of Two Gays and The Oppression Olympics played at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Pity Laughs, a fusion of stand up and narrative comedy, received 5 stars from Broadway Baby, which called it “the first true gem of the 2017 fringe”. Fringe Review described The Oppression Olympics, a play that takes a tragicomic look at sentimentality and self pity, as “a brilliant, tightly crafted piece of writing, full of belly-laughs but with an undercurrent that chills”.
Since September 2017 StraightUp has hosted a monthly comedy night at the Landor Space in Clapham, selling out each night and playing host to the likes of Heidi Regan, Ahir Shah, Ed Gamble, Max & Ivan, Sunil Patel and many others. We have started a night at the OSO Arts Centre in Barnes and are looking to expand our comedy nights in South London.
StraightUp put on four plays across the four months from November-February. Tristram Shandy: Live at London!, Will Dalrymple's adaptation of Laurence Sterne's novel was brilliantly received, with Younger Theatre writing "the laughter does not stop throughout, with incredible innovations flowing from every scene". The Oppression Olympics played in December at Clapham's Bread and Roses Theatre and MCXV magazine wrote “a very funny play...that also touches on real issues", while StraightUp's suffragette farce Suff'ring in January was called a “a funny and cleverly conceived production”. February saw the first outing of Space Doctor, at the Canal Cafe in London, which subsequently toured at the Brighton Fringe and is heading to the Edinburgh Fringe this August.
All three have also been performing on the open mic circuit and pursuing their own projects. Will Penswick's debut hour of comedy poetry, Dank Verse, has played at Et Cetera Theatre and the Brighton Fringe before heading to Edinburgh, with Broadway Baby giving it four stars and calling “laugh out loud funny”. Mark came second in the prestigious Max Turner Comedy Prize in January 2018 and Fringe Review wrote of his Pity Laughs at Brighton that "Bittlestone is magnificent". Will Dalrymple and Mark are once again joining forces for the Edinburgh Fringe 2018 for a new hour of A Tale of Two Gays.
Q: Can you stop telling me about 'StraightUp Productions, please. I'm really bored.