Where I started: Ridiculusmus

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The Independent Culture
The three of us in Ridiculusmus - Angus Barr, Jon Darke and myself - all started at the Poor School in 1990. I was working as an accountant, Angus was checking time-sheets for BT and Jon was working for an insurance company. We were pottering along with the acting in the evenings when Angus suggested we get together and perform some comic songs from the 1920s. So we started busking together after school, which ran from 6 to 10pm. I remember we once got three pence each, but it was good fun to be doing shows for the public because drama school was so enclosed.

The school was a pretty seedy little place. I think they've cleaned it up a bit since. There were a couple of stinking rooms and an alleyway alongside them where all the prostitutes used to do their business. People used to relieve themselves there but we played cricket, because it was the only place you could get some fresh air.

We started running a comedy club in Kentish Town, called The Tomato Club, on our only night off. It was all kept hush hush from the school. We told deliberately bad jokes and the audience threw rotting tomatoes at us, which we supplied them with.

We graduated in July 1992 and now we do everything from administration to the get-in. It's a different sort of energy from being at the Poor School, even more exhausting, in fact.

David Woods stars in 'Three Men in a Boat' 8-9 Jun, York Arts Centre (0904 642582). The Poor School summer show 'Spread it Around' 9-13 Jun, Workhouse Theatre, 242 Pentonville Road, London, N1 (071-278 9783)

(Photograph omitted)

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