Friday 21 July 2017

'It wasn't an easy decision for us - acts have died on that stage' - Cork act Lords of Strut ahead of Britain's Got Talent live semi-final

Lords of Strut on BGT
Lords of Strut on BGT
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Cork variety act Lords of Strut have revealed they were invited to audition for Britain's Got Talent but it was not an easy decision to take part.

Cian Kinsella (36) from Carlow (but living in Cork) and Cormac Mohally (35) from Cork have been performing as a duo for several years and felt that the hit ITV show posed a massive risk.

"It's a risk - acts have died on that stage," says Cian.  "It’s not an easy stage to go on to particularly for comedy acts and comedy acts that are a little bit weird. 

"We do characters and we don’t necessarily float everyone’s boat so that was a risk for us.  We didn’t know how people were going to take it. 

Lords of Strut on Britain's Got Talent
Lords of Strut on Britain's Got Talent

"I think in previous years they probably wouldn’t have responded as well.  But Britain’s Got Talent has changed over the last few years.  They used to ridicule people but now that doesn’t happen anymore. 

"We do variety and we’re comedy and we’ve seen variety acts doing well on Britian’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent so when they asked us we said, ‘Yeah, why not?’  It’s the biggest vaudeville type show in this part of the world."

Their first audition, which aired last weekend and saw them went down a storm.  It was an act they had made for RIOT last year in the Dublin Fringe Festival which was initially six minutes long and had to be edited to two minutes for BGT.

Tonight they take to the stage in the live semi-final and Cian says they won't be playing it as safe.

Seantastic and Famous Seamus hard at work at Tony's Bistro
Seantastic and Famous Seamus hard at work at Tony's Bistro

"We still come out and talk to the audience but we have amazing outfits specially made by a designer in Australia," he says.  "We will be stylin and we'll be spinning and flipping all to a banging track!"

While judges Amanda Holden, David Walliams, and Aleesha Dixon all gave the lads yeses, Simon Cowell was not quite so enamoured by them, not that they mind.

Lords of Strut Street Theatre in action.
Lords of Strut Street Theatre in action.

"It’s totally fine.  It almost makes the audience more into it," says Cian.  "They love to hate him.  He’s very hateable! 

"[The others] were really into it but even still I think they were wondering what’s going on.  That’s a familiar reaction for us.  People are like, ‘I don’t know what it is but I like it.’"

They appeared on the Late Late Show recently and host Ryan Tubridy had a similar reaction.

"He said something positive but then added ‘whatever that was’.  We’re an act that’s very difficult to define.  We cover so many genres.  We’re circus and acrobatics and we do variety, kind of old school vaudevillian guys, but also dancing, messing with the audience, making different puppets, lots of physical comedy.  You have to kind of see us to get us."

While Cormac trained at a circus school in Belfast, Cian came to it a little later in life.  He says he caught the 'circus buzz' in his mid 20s and learned as he went along.

Lords of Strut have a flash rave in Cork before leaving for BGT and it looks like the best craic 

The duo trains at the Circus Factory in Cork, where Cormac is director.

"Lots of professional companies who tour around come, people come for classes, or to hang out.  It’s a fully equipped, independent space.  It’s run by members.  Nobody takes any momey.  Everybody does it for the love of it."

Cian has a gaggle of friends and family travelling to London today for tonight's live show.  Cormac's family mostly live abroad but will be "glued to their laptops".

"We are feeling very supported," says Cian.  "We’ve had lots of messages from friends and family and also just people who have seen us over the years.  The feedback has been really positive.  It’s unusual.  I’m waiting for all the hate to come in!  It usually comes at some point!"

Britain's Got Talent airs on ITV and TV3 tonight at 7.30pm.  Lords of Strut will perform at RIOT Live at Vicar Street July 6-8 with added shows July 13-15.  Tickets www.vicarstreet.com

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