Actor Danny Kehoe stars in the upcoming comedy Rhubarb Crumble at The Civic. We chatted to him in advance of the show on Wednesday, 26th November.

How did you get into acting and what’s your first memory of wanting to act and perform?
As far back as I can remember I’ve always loved entertainment, acting and comedy fascinated me. I’m not really into books, but the way people describe a good book seems to be the same way I feel about movies. I like to get lost in the moment, I regularly go to the cinema on my own and immerse myself in the whole experience. I was shy and quiet growing up and never really thought about acting as a life for me.

I lived a boring 9 – 5 life for years, living for the weekend and my 48 hours of freedom. But when I was 21, I got my life together, I decided to try new things, got into great shape and became more outgoing. With my new found confidence and my new outlook on life in tow I decided to give acting a shot, I started doing classes at night after work. Pretty soon I just watched the clock in work until 5pm so I could get to me classes.

I took on more and more classes, I was up to three a week, I was also doing weekend courses, I couldn’t get enough, things started moving quickly. One of my teachers asked me to be in a short movie, I agreed, from that I was in other things and then I started doing gigs. That was it, I was hooked. The end of the year was approaching I was about to turn 22, so I made a decision, I don’t like 9 – 5 but I do like this, hmmm what do I do? I thought, feck it, you only live once, goodbye 9 – 5. I quit my job at Christmas, got a part time job, I auditioned for acting college, got in and haven’t looked back.

You had the opportunity to train with the prestigious Second City in Chicago. What was that experience like?
It was amazing, I’ve lived in different parts of the U.S. for certain periods of time doing courses and performing, but my time in Chicago was by far the best. Chicago is the home of Improv, they started it there, I studied with iO theater and Second City. Pictures of A list Hollywood stars line the hallways of the theaters, a reminder of the talent that went through there and tread the boards. Its amazing to think that they all studied there too, just like me. My time in Chicago was both inspiring and educational. I learned so much and had an amazing time, I grew as a performer without a shadow of a doubt and also as a person. To top it all off Chicago isn’t a bad place to be trapped in either, a fun town, with lots to see and do.

What’s the Dublin Improv scene like?
It’s good, it’s growing again. For many years there was just three main groups, The Ha’Penny Laugh, The Craic Pack and The Dublin Comedy Improv. Myself and Sharon Mannion are the only two Improvisers to have been in all three. I was performing three times a week with those guys, it was great. But all good things have to come to an end, The Ha’Penny is still going, but it is a shadow of its former self, they perform once a month now. The Craic Pack just ended in June after 12 very successful years, but the Dublin Comedy Improv (The International Bar, Mondays @ 9pm) is still going strong, 22 years and counting.

There were other groups popping up here and there but those three were the main ones. Long Form Improv has arrived though and is starting to take hold. Its very similar to the short form but slightly different. The main difference is that short form is a series of games requiring many suggestions from the audience where as long form is just one suggestion, in fact, just one word from the english language is needed. With that word you create a show anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. We recently started a group called The Cardinals, we perform weekly in the Workmans Club. We are on a small break currently, but we are starting up again soon.

How did the sketch comedy group Ghost Train Willy come about? Can you tell us a little about the other performers?
In a word ‘Improv’. We all performed improv together, mostly in a group called Peppers which ran out of Slatterys Bar in Rathmines, Dublin 6 (2004 – 2006). Originally there were loads of us Willys, eight I think, but that figure whittled down to just five by the end of the first year. We didn’t find Lisa Garvey through Improv though, some the original members knew her and the rest of us met her at a fundraiser for some show. We all hit it off straight away and she was in.

The other members are:
Sharon Mannion – Stand Up, Improviser, Actor, VO artist, Writer. Sharon has done it all, performed all over the country and beyond, has won awards and is currently the voice of ‘Don’t Tell The `Bride’

Lisa Garvey is all over your telly box and radio at the minute she does a weekly show with Oliver Callan on RTE Radio 1

Graeme Singleton is hilarious, a former kids TV presenter who you would have seen most recently on Damo & Ivor as ‘Lock Jaw Jason’

Eoghan McLaughlin completes the team. Eoghan too works on radio, is a member of the Cardinals and a regular on The Republic of Telly

Ghost Train Wily have had great success with sketches on The Republic of Telly etc. What’s involved in developing a piece for television?
It aint easy, it’s rewrite after rewrite and draft after draft. When you are happy and finished with your version you have to submit it to the TV people. They may have suggestions and/or tweaks, if this is the case, it’s back to the writing room. Sometimes you have to kill your babies, what I mean by that is, you have to be brutal, you may have something that is very funny but for whatever reason it just doesn’t fit anymore, so unfortunately it has to be cut. That is particularly hard, but we keep it and try and use it for something else down the line. We do make a lot of our own videos too, so sometimes we use it there.

Your show ‘Rhubarb Crumble’ was a big success in the recent Dublin Fringe Festival, can you tell audiences what they can expect from the show when it comes to The Civic next week and how the show came about?
Rhubarb Crumble is musical comedy extravaganza about a second rate children’s theatre company. It follows five main characters as they work behind the scenes. If you’ve ever wondered what is involved in putting a show together, then this should answer all your questions. Jo and her assistant Mel run the theatre, Jason is the choreographer, Sean is the techie and Richard, who actually left the Rhubarb Crumble years ago just can’t keep away, It’s a magnetic force always pulling him back.

It’s fast paced, with us playing multiple roles. There are flash backs, flash forwards, parodies, what ifs, think an episode of Scrubs but live on stage. There are crazy characters, absurd moments and some very witty show tunes. What more could you want?

Rhubarb Crumble came about the way all our stuff does, we thought it was a funny concept and had potential. So we got writing

What’s next for Ghost Train Willy? Do you have any future projects that we should look out for?
We have just finished writing and filming a new web series for RTE. It’s called Tidy and it follows the cut throat world of the Tidy Towns. How far would you go to win??? It will be out soon…watch this space!

Rhubarb Crumble comes to The Civic from Wednesday, 26th – Saturday, 29th November 2014. Tickets are on sale now! Phone our box office on 01 4627477 or book online here.