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Interview: David Hoyle and Richard Thomas talk to Run Riot about their Merrie Hell in Soho

Get ready for this festive duo of the two baddest fairies in town - David Hoyle and Richard Thomas.

David Hoyle is a renowned performance artist, avant-garde cabaret artist, singer, actor, comedian, film director, and creator of The Divine David, an ‘anti- drag queen’ character who fronted several series’ on Channel 4. Hoyle has also appeared in Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker’s Nathan Barley and in recent years, he has returned to the stage with a string of live shows; Magazine (2007), Dave’s Drop-In (2009), Licking Wounds (2010) and Lives (2011). In 2010 he released his own feature film Uncle David, which he both directed and starred in.

Richard Thomas is an award-winning writer/composer, best known for creating and composing Jerry Springer: The Opera with Stewart Lee, for which won multiple Olivier Awards and has played West End, Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and Peckham. BBC Two aired his series Kombat Opera, comprising five half-hour TV musicals. Most recently, Thomas wrote and composed the dance musical, Shoes, which transferred from Sadler’s Wells to the West End in 2010, as well as writing the book and lyrics for the smash Royal Opera House hit in 2011, Anna Nicole which has US debut in 2013 in New York.

Run Riot caught up with the pair to talk Christmas, filth, and beauty. David Hoyle & Richard Thomas: 'Merrie Hell' at the Soho Theatre, Thu 29 Nov – Sat 5 Jan.

RR: Christmas - what's it all about?
It’s all about shopping, people getting in to debt, having a nervous breakdown and committing suicide. It’s about feeling obliged to act in a way you normally wouldn’t.
Richard: It's about Easter.
RR: 'trashy, meaty buffet of festive filth and sick songs' - this is a delicious description of what to expect from your 'Merrie Hell'! Can you tell us a bit more about the filth?
Well, in a way I would contest the sickness of the songs. They are beautiful songs for a sick society. When you live in a militarised society, and people are brought up to think war is normal, I think our songs are not sick, they’re the truth.
Richard: It's definitely festive. If you hate Christmas you will love this show, and if you love Christmas you will re-evaluate.
RR: You seem quite the sassy pair - how did you come to work together? What were your first impressions of one another - and how do you regard each other now?
We were brought together by our director Gary Reich, who produced and co-directed my film Uncle David. Richard was working on the soundtrack and I’ve learnt a lot from him. It’s been a huge learning curve for me. First impression was huge admiration really. He’s amazing. I admire everything he’s achieved. Now I regard him as a friend. It’s really natural for me and Richard to write together - I think some of the best songs have come from duos.
Richard: I've seen David perform many times and it was just a matter of time before we worked on some songs. He's a total original.
RR: What essential advise could you offer our readers to help them to become the absolute symbol of beauty in an urban environment?
Be yourself, as long as your existence doesn’t depend on the humiliation and dehumanisation of other people and animals. My life doesn’t depend on any death.
Richard: Paint.
RR: Anna Nicole and Jerry Springer - what's the common denominator?
I think they're both about outsiders trying to get inside and blowing it on all manner of levels. Rags to riches or rags to more rags narratives.
RR: You're a champion advocate, mocking one of societies daftest taboos - mental health. Do you think society has wised-up at all over the last decade or so?
In a weird sort of way, it probably has, in the way that it’s acknowledged now. But in another way, labelling someone depressed is a means of setting them apart from the government machine. The more people who are depressed, means less people to fight against the 1%, who this government represents.
RR: What are you hoping for in your stocking this Christmas?
I don’t consider myself a materialist person, but a nice t-shirt from Vivienne Westwood would be nice.
Richard: Breaking Bad - final series.
RR: With the new year on the horizon, what will be on your personal inventory when it comes to 'out with the old, in with the new you'?
Get rid of worrying about people who actually aren’t supportive. Those who demean, devalue and diminish do not have the strength to produce things themselves.
Richard: Write more stuff, try to be a better person, drink less... the usual.
RR: Could you treat us to a David Hoyle London anecdote.
I went into a pub and had more than one drink. Something to do with Cyndi Lauper and either a teenager or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Either way, his dad got the hump.
RR: Could you treat us to a Richard Thomas London anecdote.
Oh my... well it was a night involving a casino, a member of the military, a testosterone shot, a showdown with some Russians - terrifying - can't go into detail. Great night!

David Hoyle on Twitter @DavidHoylesNest
Richard Thomas on wikipedia

David Hoyle & Richard Thomas
'Merrie Hell'
Thu 29 Nov – Sat 5 Jan
at the Soho Theatre
21 Dean Street
London W1D 3NE
For more info and tickets: sohotheatre.com