Jim Tavare: ‘From Deadpan to Bedpan’
What does one do when you’ve had the most horrific car crash, come close to death three times in the operating theatre and told by the doctors to contact your children to say goodbye? Well, you write jokes. Jim Tavare sat back on his bed facing a year of convalescing, an uncertain future with major restriction in body movement and a career crushed in the remnants of his car. After a while, he began to tap out his experience on a laptop which developed into a show, which he brought to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018.
‘From Deadpan to Bedpan’ examines Jim’s career and the journey from leaving his house to buy chicken wire, only to wake up in hospital surrounded by doctors trying to save his life, having suffered a serious road accident. Jim highlights the humour of the disaster throughout, trying to find the thin line between comedy and tragedy. Not an easy thing to achieve so he contacted his friend Henry Normal to help develop the script further, taking the work to several preview events with others (Matthew Willetts & Dave Thompson) helping to shape things further.
Jim is still not 100% right and still suffering from post-traumatic stress order. It had been twenty years since Tavare had performed at the fringe. The Edinburgh festival never stays still, it is a creative bubble where last year’s shows are history. It leaves performers & producers behind if they don’t move with it. The domination of large venues is hard to break, costing most comics several thousand, even with a successful show. Along comes Peter Buckley Hill who with his free fringe idea revolutionised the festival which has been the most important change in the last few years. It has helped smaller artistes and been given credibility by established names using it as a space for their show. Having not worked for 18 months, Jim decided on the free fringe, supporting the principle which many believe has been lost in the commercialisation of the fringe.
The audiences and reviews could not have been better, supported by four feature articles in the national press and a spot on ‘BBC Breakfast News’ and countless radio interviews. What moved Jim the most was how many of his colleagues turned up to see him perform, Justin Moorhouse, Dominic Holland, Terry Alderton, Fred MacAulay, Jack Docherty among many who visited the show. The news at winning ‘The Spirit of the fringe’ award, boosted Tavares’ confidence in himself. He could make a successful creative return, backed by a team of people who have remained loyal and positive throughout. We now await a possible national tour.
Original photos copyright Matthew Willetts
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.