John Osborne discusses 'You're In A Bad Way' - "Just because you’ve been diagnosed with something, doesn’t mean it’s the end."

Writer and performer, John Osborne talks about his upcoming show You're In A Bad Way, including what influenced the piece and how the show was put together.

You're In A Bay Way is in our studio Friday 11 October.

Q: Tell us about the show.

You’re in a Bad Way is a storytelling show based on the true story of my friend, when her dad was diagnosed with dementia. It felt like the kind of story I’d never heard before and I wondered what would happen if I started writing it up as a theatre show. Hopefully it’s an uplifting, warm, funny show, but it focusses on a topic that’s increasingly dominant in people’s lives. This is my fourth storytelling show; it’s a format I really enjoy, something between theatre and stand-up, and I’ve really enjoyed writing it and putting it all together. I’ve become more fascinated with dementia. Just because you’ve been diagnosed with something, doesn’t mean it’s the end.

Q: How was the show put together?

I wrote it a couple of years ago. It didn’t feel right for a long time, so I didn’t perform it for a year, but it was still hanging around in the back of my mind. I didn’t want to do anything with it until I got it right though. Then one day earlier this year I had an idea for it, sat down and suddenly it seemed like something I wanted to perform and do as a show. I did some previews, took it up to Edinburgh and now it’s on tour.

I don’t have a director or producer or script editor or any funding, it’s just me writing it and hoping I’m doing a good enough job. 

Q: Tell us about your previous work.

In 2011 I made a show called John Peel’s Shed. It was a storytelling show about a box of records I won in a competition on John Peel’s Radio 1 show. I took it to Edinburgh and it sold out its entire run, then went on a sixty date UK tour, with performances at Soho Theatre and Glastonbury. It was adapted for BBC Radio 4, and I went on to perform six half hour Radio 4 shows.

I’ve also written for TV. Together with my friend Molly we made a show called After Hours, a sitcom about music and radio. It was directed by Craig Cash, who co-wrote The Royle Family with Caroline Aherne. It was the most fun thing I’ve ever done. I’m now working on new TV ideas as well as You’re in a Bad Way and a couple of other writing things too.

Q: Who would you like to come along to your show?

I love touring and I love travelling around. I grew up about an hour from Derby and some of my friends live there, so I’m looking forward to them coming along for my show. I hope people who are living with dementia and who know people who have dementia will come to the show, but the show is mainly for people who like stories and theatre. It’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever worked on, and it’s funny and a big unusual, mysterious true story so I hope people come along and enjoy it.


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