I love SF comedy. I love shows with terrific female lead characters. I love Kickstarter. And I love my incredibly talented brother-in-law John Richards, who is one of the fantabulous creative team behind the new SF comedy radio serial Night Terrace, about Anastasia Black (Jackie Woodburne of Neighbours fame) a retired world-saving adventurer who finds her quiet life irritatingly interrupted when her house starts inexplicably travelling through space and time. Stuck with her (or indeed the other way around) is Eddie Jones (Ben McKenzie), who was trying to sell her something at the time.
Of course, the show needs funding first!
I’ve asked the Night Terrace crew – John Richards, Ben McKenzie, Petra Elliott, Lee Zachariah and David Ashton – to share with me their ideas for the perfect first date, anywhere in time or space! Be romanced by the crew here, or skip straight to pledging support for Night Terrace at Kickstarter.
Romance in time and space, the Night Terrace view
While Anastasia would rather face death than think of Eddie as a possible suitor, no-one can deny the romance of travel. So if the makers of Night Terrace could travel anywhere in space and time, where would they choose for a perfect first date?
Ben McKenzie – Actor/Writer
Ben is an actor and comedian, and will be playing Eddie in Night Terrace. He also has an upcoming 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, Ben McKenzie is Uncool.
I would get a hot air balloon, some champagne and strawberries and take it back in time around 100 million years to float over some dinosaurs at dawn. I’m afraid of heights but I’ve always wanted to fly in a hot air balloon on a date; I reckon this would be the ultimate incentive! Plus a balloon is by far the most romantic and least life-threatening way to visit real dinosaurs. I like to think I’ve learned the lesson of Jurassic Park.
Lee Zachariah – Writer
Lee is a journalist and critic, as well as half of the much loved ABC comedy duo The Bazura Project.
Venice in the early 1800s. This was literally the Romantic period! Unless I’ve misunderstood the name. But it’ll be great: we’ll take a relaxing ride down the Venetian canals (where I’ll impress my date by being the first person in history to make the “How do you make a Venetian blind?” joke), go to a restaurant for some pasta, hang out with Pope Pius VII and Beethoven, challenge Napoleon to a duel, warn everyone about 9/11, and then pretend I wrote “Johnny B. Goode”. You know, typical first date stuff.
David Ashton – Sound engineer/Writer
David has recorded everyone from The Church to SBS’s Indonesian show, as well as writing comedy for RRR’s classic comedy The Third Ear
I think travelling to the future would probably be a risk as you never know what might be there (“Sorry, I thought there’d be hover-cars, but instead there’s a radioactive wasteland.”) Other planets pose a similar problem. So, that leaves travelling to the past. Of course, when you think of the past your first instinct is to try and kill Hitler, but that may be coming on a bit too strong. A hot air balloon picnic in the Jurassic era would be very romantic, but what if it turns out there’s no chemistry between you? Being stuck in a hot air balloon surrounded by giant killer reptiles is a bad time to find out. A safer bet would be some sort of music concert – The Beatles at The Cavern, Beethoven before he was famous, something like that – I’d let my date choose. But if it was up to me it would be the infamous Sex Pistols gig at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall in June 1976.
John Richards – Head Writer
John was co-creator/writer of the ABC1 comedy Outland, about a gay science fiction fan club. He’s also known for his writing and broadcasting
My usual time-travel choices – watching Kennedy get shot, finding out if Jesus actually existed – aren’t ideal. These are clearly more second date activities. So I might choose somewhere I wouldn’t take a date but might find one. In Matthew Sweet’s book The West End Front: The Wartime Secrets of London’s Grand Hotels, he talks about a bar that existed in the basement of the Ritz Hotel during World War II. He says, “Below the pavement of Piccadilly, a flourishing homosexual subculture worked its way through the Ritz’s stock of gin and Angostura bitters.” Known as The Pink Sink, the poet Louis MacNeice described it as “noisy and crowded with officers in uniform, but all of a peculiar kind, shimmying their hips and speaking in shrill or velvety voices – ‘My dear! My dear! My DEAR!'”. In class-conscious England it was a rare place where different strata mingled, everyone from officers to pickpockets. And I don’t think you can get more romantic than contemplating “the thrills of black-out sex under police surveillance”.
Petra Elliott – Actor/Singer
Petra is known both for her stage work and her musical performances. As well as playing the mysterious “Sue” in Night Terrace she has a new cabaret Petrasexual starting in April.
I would like my would-be suitor to treat me to a night at the theatre… specifically the great theatre in Petra, Jordan, back in the times of the Roman Empire. While I’d be more than ecstatic to visit the city now, how splendid would it be to experience the beauty of the fabulous Rose City back in it’s heyday, when the famous rock-cut architecture was at its finest? Because after all, I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.
What is Night Terrace?
Night Terrace is a new audio comedy from the minds behind ABC1’s Outland, ABC2’s Bazura Project and the hit podcast Splendid Chaps. It follows the adventures of Anastasia Black (played by Neighbours veteran Jackie Woodburne), who used to save the world for the government but now just wants a quiet life in retirement. So when her house inexplicably starts travelling in time and space she’s understandably miffed. She’s also not exactly thrilled about Eddie Jones, who happened to be on her doorstep at the time and is now her unlikely fellow traveller. University hasn’t prepared Eddie to cope with other worlds or time paradoxes, but he still thinks they’re a step up from selling electricity plans door-to-door.
Together Anastasia and Eddie will face alien invasions, hideous monsters, and a shadowy figure known only as “Sue”. All the while hoping the house will eventually take them home…
The team are crowdfunding the first series of Night Terrace right now. Jane Badler, chanteuse and actress (the original Diana of the original V!) is also slated for a role if the show is funded. They’re two thirds of the way to their goal – and you can help them reach their funding goal at Kickstarter.
If you could choose anywhere in time or space, where would you take a first date? Feel free to leave a comment!