Tag Archives: Scriptless Wonder – 2006

A Day In The Life Of The MC

From the archives, here is a short piece I wrote to be my biography in the program for an old improvisation show that I compere’d in Wimbledon a few years ago. See if you can spot the subtle references.


I live in Tooting, on Renmuir Street, on the 1st floor.
My name is Matthew Petty.
I’m 30ahem years old.

Despite appearances, I believe in taking care of myself, in a balanced diet, in a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an icepack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now. After I remove the icepack, I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower, I use a water-activated gel cleanser. Then a honey-almond body scrub. And on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply a herb mint facial masque, which I leave on for ten minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. While the kettle boils for my Co-op Red Label Tea, I feed my West Highland Terrier and talk to him. His name is Shuggie and I love him, although his opinions on Intelligent Design are a little worrying.

I always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm, followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion.

I enjoy the music of The Human League. Interestingly, I enjoy their early avant-garde work as an electronic 3-piece (The Black Hit Of Space, Dreams Of Leaving) just as much as the later, more chic, cinematic cocktail disco of Don’t You Want Me and Open Your Heart. I also like The Who, Talking Heads and Dollar, and there is no shame in that.

There is an idea of a Matthew Petty – some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me. Only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours, and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable –

I simply am not there.


Video Highlights

Sorry about the delay with this, but here is a video with highlights of Scriptless Wonder.

Take a look! It was shot by a couple of ladies who came along from the UK Theatre Network, and by their own admission it’s pretty poor. But it gives you a good idea of the kind of lunacy that took place during the shows.

I have to say there’s not much of me in it, but I was only the compere after all. You can hear me introducing the illustrious performers, but that’s it. Just a taste.


Scriptless Wonder, July 2006

A quiet interlude before the heaving masses arrived. It was much more cheerful than this looks, honest. Picture courtesy of Ian Ward.

No-one Gives A Fuck What Benedict Nightingale Says

…to the extent that NOT ONE PERSON who came to see the show came as a result of his recommendation. How does that feel, Ben? Or can I call you Bendy?

That’s That

And that is also that as well. Over and done with, completely over. Finished. Done with. Over and finished. Done over and finished with. Over. Finished over with. Done.

Scriptless Wonder, Benedict Nightingale’s #1 show for the week of 11-16 July 2006, has finished. In its place is a void, a shadow, a silence. I will mainly be filling this void by catching up with Deadwood, Battlestar Galactica and sitting on my arse.

After a rest on Friday, the last two shows were slightly different in that we didn’t have a judge. This meant I had to double up the tasks of compering with judging the games. The solution we came up with was to get the audience to yell a word for each team, based on what the preceding scenes had been about. Based on the volume of the yells, I would then award the teams their points, in the form of images of strange or extraordinary objects. Actually, the points were predetermined, and no winner was actually announced until the finale. And that winner was only chosen because Richard hadn’t been in a winning team yet.

Utterly corrupt of course, and as a result I have been relegated to the 2nd Division. The only difference being, the Italian foopballers were corrupt for money – I did it for a quiet life.

As a result of this predestination, the shows ran a lot smoother, although that might just have been my Soave-fuelled imagination. The audience loved it as well, although that was definitely Soave-and-lager-fuelled. They called for – and got – an encore, something the performers were only too pleased to give them. And then they wended their merry way into the Merton night, after telling us it was the, “biggest laugh they’d had in years”.

It was certainly a laugh, and a cry and a yell and a curse. But mostly a laugh.

Two Down…

…three to go. And it’s going very well so far. The theatre was more full last night than on Tuesday, so maybe that’s a trend that will continue. We’re not sure how much influence Mr Nightingales recommendation has had – no queues round the block yet.

The teams have been very good, although the idea that changing the team members around every night and not having proper scores would reduce the amount of bitter competitiveness was clearly a false one. Arguments have been heard about, “How come the team with you in it always wins”, despite us only having done two shows.

These thesps, I don’t know.

A crew from the Carlton were in attendance last night, and as raucous as ever, except when it came to shouting out suggestions. The audiences have been quite quiet about that, like they think they paid to be entertained, rather than have to lift a finger (or a tonsil) themselves.

These punters, I don’t know.

Here We Go

Get-in and Technical/Dress rehearsal tonight! Actually, there’s not much in the way of ‘getting-in’ to be done. We’ll use the lights just as they are, there’s no set, just a box of props, and the 100-piece orchestra are arriving at about 5 from Rio. What could possibly go wrong?

As far as rehearsal is concerned, even improvised shows need them, because it does need a certain amount of organisation. Otherwise it would be a shambolic, rambling, unfunny mess, and we don’t want that, now do we?

I should clarify something about this entry. I don’t read The Times. Someone else told me about it. OK?

I have my costume ready, such as it is. I’m not making the mistake I made in 2003, and wearing a full tux in the July heat. It’s short sleeves all the way now.

All that’s needed now is to finish writing some banter and twaddle for in between the games. I’m using my wiki to do that – handy for when inspiration strikes at work – and fatal for paid productivity…

Oooohhhhh Shhhiiiiiiiitttt

Scriptless Wonder is on next week, and what appeared in the Times on Saturday, in the theatre pages of the culture magazine?

Scriptless Wonder!
I’m compering the #1 show in town!

We’d better make it good…