Kelly Apter meets the talented twosome behind a show filled with daring deeds

When it comes to solving crime, fiction has proved that two heads are often better than one. The same can be said for creating great theatre, as Naomi O Kelly and Ronan McMahon discovered when they teamed up ten years ago. Based in Glasgow, the duo makes what they describe as ‘joyful and mischievous’ shows as the Two Detectives. So, what’s with the criminally good name?

‘We’ve been making performances together since 2010 but only started calling ourselves Two Detectives recently,’ explains McMahon. ‘Naomi thought of the name she was describing how we like to investigate things when we make shows. Detectives often work as partnerships, like Holmes and Watson, Poirot and Captain Hastings. We’re equals though, like Mulder and Scully, but with a brighter wardrobe and more up for a laugh.’

O Kelly and McMahon’s latest show Very Mild Peril recognises that children enjoy being a little bit scared, as longs as they’re in safe hands. The show started life as a short cabaret performance for adults, but the pair quickly realised the idea had legs. ‘Without using any words, Ronan got audience members to create a marble run from the back of the room to the stage using large tubes and a ping pong ball,’ recalls O Kelly. ‘We noticed that people

became very invested in the success, or failure, of the ball travelling through the tubes and arriving safely on stage. And we wondered if what people actually enjoyed was the peril, the thrill of being part of something that might go wrong but if we all work together, it might just go right.’ And so Very Mild Peril was born, a series of playful experiments based on the main character’s favourite book, ‘Opportunities for Slight Danger in Everyday Life’. The Two Detectives will work to ensure that disaster doesn’t strike, but if anyone in the audience of this show for ages 4 and over feels like helping out, that’s fine too.

‘If you’re up for it you can interact with the show, but it’s important to us that we don’t make you interact,’ says McMahon. ‘Very Mild Peril has been created with the understanding that people experience things differently, so if you prefer simply to watch the show, that’s totally fine and perfect. But if you’re the kind of person that actively wants to help, then our character might ask for your assistance in some mildly perilous, very silly, experiments.’

Very Mild Peril’s premiere at Puppet Animation Festival has been cancelled due to COVID-19; show to tour in the future.




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