Dead Funny

by Terry Johnson

Dead Funny had 4 performances over 17 years ago (between the 13th of July 2005 and the 16th of July 2005) at The Riverhouse Barn

Dead Funny is an extremely funny yet ultimately heart-rending commentary on sex therapy and failing relationships. Eleanor and Richard are in their late thirties; she is desperate to have children to bring some meaning to her comfortable but unsatisfying life - he is the current Chairman of the Dead Funny Society - a small group of slightly eccentric and rather sad "anoraks" who meet to revere and revive the work of dead British comedians.

Nick and Lisa are their close friends who have recently had the young child that Eleanor yearns for. They, with Richard and Brian, their camp middle aged neighbour, unable to move on from his mother's death, are the mainstays of the Society. Eleanor teases, and increasingly mocks, them all.

We see these five over the short week in 1992 during which both Benny Hill and Frankie Howerd died - so being inaugurated into the Dead Funny Hall of Fame. In the same period we witness revelations about Richard's infidelity, Nick's potency, Brian's sexuality, Lisa's parentage and Eleanor's maturity amid hysterical set pieces involving a sex education video and the Society re-enacting classic comedy sketches.



Richard - Adam Roberts

Age 36. Consultant obstetrician and current Chair of Dead Funny Society. Professionally successful but emotionally stunted; husband of Eleanor. Claims to have lost interest in sex, but is having an affair (he says meaningless) with Lisa. Script asks for full nudity but we might work around! Mimics Tony Hancock, Eric Morecombe and Benny Hill among others.


Eleanor - Frankie Godliman

Age 39. The only complete adult among the anoraks, Eleanor is an attractive part time teacher who is desperate to make her marriage work and have children. Instigated sex therapy sessions much to Richard's disgust. Wonderful ironic, black humour. In an attempt to get Richard's attention appears as a racy ˜Hill's Angel" late in the play.


Brian - Keith Bollands

35 or older. In order to get over his mother's death this lonely neighbour comes out as gay (to no-one's surprise) and announces a trip to Amsterdam to celebrate. Fanatical about the Society, Brian is the source of much of the humour in the play. Never mocked, but a kind yet rather pathetic character. Mimics Benny Hill as ˜Fred Scuttle" in particular.

Person small1

Nick - Philip Audaer

Age 36. A longstanding friend of Richard but far less successful. Married to the younger Lisa his career is stalled and he looks up to Richard for guidance in many areas. Nick knows he is not the father of Lisa's baby and has started to hate Lisa's duplicity. Another dedicated Society member he mimics Ernie Wise, Benny Hill as "Mr Chow Mein" and Frankie Howerd among others.

Person small1

Lisa - Nancy Lund

Age 33. Something of a bimbo, Lisa trades on her looks rather than her personality which can be very insensitive. The only female member of the Society she is honoured for having once worked with Hattie Jacques and the suspicion that she may be "the bastard offspring of Sid James"! Joins in some of the comedy routines but with less confidence than the men. She is the wedge breaking up both marriages.


Director - Mark Humble

Person small1

Stage Manager - Liz Thomas

Person small1

Continuity - Linda Russell