You had to be there…

(c) Alex Brenner
(c) Alex Brenner

Ever try to tell a story of the most amazing time, and then it flops? Then say “You had to be there” to really get it? Uncanny Theatre will be orchestrating that moment on stage at The Lowry Fri 27 January. Here we catch up with Natalie Bellingham and Matt Rogers to find out their perfect ‘you had to be there’ moments and more.

Was there a ‘you had to be there’ moment that inspired the show?

M: To be honest This show was us just thinking about what is so important about “being there” and having a shared experience. So the whole point is to get the heart of that moment of clarity where the pleasure that you had is hard to put into words. but answer your question more directly, Yes Nat and I have a host of terrible shaggy dog stories which give us a lot of pleasure.

N: There were a few that cropped up, however the one we experienced as a company is in the show….so my lips are sealed.


What’s the most memorable moment you’ve created so far? 

N: There are many parts of the show that are very unpredictable, we often find ourselves at the mercy of our audience. I love the moments where we are close to genuine panic and then out of no where we’re pondering the image of a Burlesque styled Braveheart and a cat with a porn stars name.

M: Within the show, the most memorable moment for me would be when an audience member called Iain chose to show us all a picture of his bum from the internet which was then projected to our very full audience. More specifically the very big reaction that a new friend that he’d just met had to this sight. It was quite spectacular.


What is your favourite rubbish story to tell?

N: I don’t know if i dare attempt to write it, I imagine it’s even less compelling in the written word but i will tell you it involves me, my 10 year old niece and a bag of salad from an indian take away.

M: The thing about these stories is that they ARE rubbish if you weren’t there, but having said that I never tire of retelling the day that my friend Jonathan Spilled the milk. I thought that he was literally going to cry, you see it was very late night after a new years party that we were hosting and he’d decided to make sure that he looked after himself. So he poured himself a tall glass of milk and joined me in the lounge. just before he got the glass that was slightly too full to his mouth. he just hiccoughed meaning that he jolted the entire contents – that seemed to rise up into the air in the shape of the glass before soaking him completely. we just looked at each other in shock for a moment of inactivity, then we were just gone it was hilarious. at… the … time. yep. that’s one of them.


Have you discovered the key ingredient to a ‘you had to be there’ moment?

N: Of course, but you’d have to see the show for me to share that information!

M: For me you can’t have one of these moments alone. It’s all about people.


What’s the best reaction you’ve had to a ‘you had to be there’ moment on stage?

M: I think that we’re back to our Iain’s bum and associated reaction. but if not that then I’d say it’s something a little bit less direct. We first performed a version of this show in Leeds in 2013. And still to this day people who I’ve never met come up to me and say “Medium, five, fish” which… well you had to be there for that one.

N: BE Festival last year, a room full of people shouting ‘Vagina, Banana, You’ at us…including the judges and organisers. I’d never felt more proud.


Can you sum up the show in 5 words or less?

M: I’ll do it in 3: Medium Five Fish.

N: A cracking night out.


‘You Had To Be There’ is at The Lowry on Fri 27 Jan. For tickets and info click here.