Don't miss Norfolk's most hilarious comedy show this week
- Credit: Supplied by Norwich Playhouse
They’re back! They’re brilliant! They’re 25! Karl Minns and Owen Evans, aka The Nimmo Twins, celebrate 25 years of ridiculously witty sketches, running jokes and the shambling characters who have grown-up with their adoring audiences
The Norfolk accent, the diet of Delia and disappointment that is the lot of a Norwich City football fan, life on the huh in Norwich Market, the concept of taking a family trip to the seaside to see a decaying beached whale – all of Norfolk life has been celebrated by the Nimmo Twins.
For more than two decades two city councillors have talked audiences through the news stories of the past few months paying particular attention to traffic chaos and planning wrangles; local news reports are mercilessly mocked; place names are twisted and contorted into a manic monologue; dialect words are translated for the un-Norfolk; local celebrities from off the telly or, just as a likely, a market stall, are introduced alongside fictional characters so familiar they should be real.
A young woman (Karl in a blonde wig) talks us through her complex life in a breathless, smut-laden, filth-laced soliloquy. She Go, for it is she, mum to Destiny Aguilera, scourge of a succession of no-hoper Norwich blokes, with a voice Karl described as ‘whiny like a band-saw going through Spam’ burst into an early Nimmos show as a teenager and has treated us to every eye-popping detail of her life ever since. Once she had a name, but now we know her by her conversation style: “She go…, she go…, she go….”
“She started off as a tongue twister,” explained Karl. “Stephen Fry played a recording of her on a radio show he was doing about language and said: ‘Utter gibberish!’”
How do you describe the Nimmo Twins to non-Norfolk people?
Two men in a succession of nylon wigs, ripping the mores, attitudes, prejudices, people and news events of East Anglia through the medium of song, monologue and double entendre. Usually with strangulated Norfolk accents.
- 1 Norfolk village named among poshest places to live in the UK
- 2 Air ambulance called after three people seriously injured in A47 crash
- 3 Should cars be banned from Norwich's steepest hill?
- 4 Seven Sprowston neighbours scoop £30,000 lottery win
- 5 Meet the man behind a morbid new craze
- 6 Car boot sale to return after five years with up to 200 pitches
- 7 Asteroid bigger than any building on Earth to be visible in Norfolk skies
- 8 Custom-built six-bedroom home with indoor slide on the market for £900,000
- 9 A47 reopens after serious crash
- 10 'Man with a van' fined for dumping waste in village
Who are your favourite Nimmo characters?
I’d say She Go, as she’s been around the longest and is the most popular and fully realised. Billy Boy, I enjoy performing, but as he’s a sea of tics and random outbursts, he’s pretty exhausting. I love watching Owen perform Anne, the awful Evening News poet: it’s an absolute joy. Cyril from Brancaster is a newer old character I like, as he’s slow, deliberate, but brutal.
What do audiences like best?
She Go always gets a big cheer when she comes on. Audiences have grown up with her over the last 20 years, and they feel like they know her. But talking with people afterwards, everyone has a different part of the show they like, which is very gratifying.
How have the Nimmos changed over the past quarter of a century?
Older, less hair, greyer, one functioning knee between us, for starters. The shows are better definitely. It was a surprise looking back over the old scripts and realising how loose and baggy they were. Also, attitudes and sensibilities have changed in the world around us, and we’ve changed with them. There’s jokes and ideas from our early shows that you wouldn’t dream of writing now. That’s good.
What do you do when you aren’t being the Nimmo Twins?
I write comedy for whoever will have me. Last year I wrote on Spitting Image, Avenue 5 and helped out on scripts for Jenny Éclair, Al Murray and Matt Forde. I’ve just been writing on a new comedy-drama for Sky.
What should audiences expect in January? And in August?
January is a best of … show, so it’s the sketches that myself and Owen really like performing and that have had the biggest reaction off audiences. They’ll also be a few new bits here and there, which we’ll road test for the new show in August. August is called Holt! Who Goes There? and will be a new show featuring all your favourite characters as well as some new faces: songs, sketches, local filth, the usual.
And, obviously, the traditional question: Are you identical twins?
Yes, we are. We’re the same height, weight and look exactly the same. It’s just the quality of the light in East Anglia that makes one of us look bald and skinny, and the other one look hirsute and stout.
See The Nimmo Twins at the Playhouse, Norwich, until January 25 with A Load of Old Squit, the best of the Nimmo Twins, and then The Nimmo Twins: Holt, Who Goes There? From August 3-21, also at the Playhouse.