RICHARD VRANCH is a comedy improviser. He also does voiceovers, writing, animations, cartoons, and bits of acting. He improvises on stage in the Comedy Store Players every Wednesday and Sunday at the London Comedy Store. The Players return to Shakespeare's Globe on May 26th 2014, and to Regent's Park Open Air Theatre on July 26th for the 25th consecutive year.
Richard has recently been doing stand-up comedy in French at London's Comedy Cafe. His voice can be heard on various radio and TV adverts, and he narrates documentaries, for example the 2011 Channel 4 series 'Love Thy Neighbour.' You may be surprised that Richard doesn't work as a musician. He's on Twitter @richardvranch.
Richard has appeared on Just A Minute and various Radio 4 panel shows including 'The Puzzle Panel,' and on BBC4's lateral thinking quiz 'Mindgames.' He is an Artistic Associate of Tamasha Theatre. He has a PhD in Physics and is half of the comedy-science hula hoop act "DR HULA."
Richard is one of Paul Merton's Impro Chums, and he has toured the world extensively in Stephen Frost's Impro Allstars. In April 2014 Richard improvised on the Cutty Sark with Ross Noble. This year he will be celebrating 35 years at the Edinburgh Fringe, improvising with Paul Merton. Last year he also guested in Marcus Brigstock's 'Unavailable For Comment.' (Huffington Post blog here) He'll perform again in the Astrolabe Theatre Tent at the 2014 Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts (to give it its proper name) with Stephen Frost. In 2012 he acted in the scripted show "Paul Merton: Out Of My Head" which toured the UK then ran at the Vaudeville Theatre in London's West End.
Richard is the only professional comedian with a Physics Ph.D. (Cavendish Lab, Cambridge) and he was briefly a fellow of St John's College, Oxford. In 1994 he presented the 8x30 minute Channel 4 primetime science series 'Beat That Einstein,' well before geek became chic. Pippa the Ripper and Richard are "Dr Hula" - combining sharp comedy and sexy hula-hooping to demonstrate atomic physics. Dr Hula performed at the Bloomsbury Theatre in Robin Ince's Richard Feynman celebration in May 2013, and with Robin and Prof Brian Cox at their Xmas show at the Hammersmith Apollo. Richard was part of the BIG SCIENCE night at the Royal Institution in June 2013.
Richard was co-founder with Leisa Rea of The YarnBards, storytellers who spin audience suggestions into brand new dramatised adventures and sagas. YarnBards were acclaimed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2005 and 2007.
Paul Merton's Impro Chums will tour UK theatres for the 5th time from April 2015. Richard also appears at sunny festivals improvising with Stephen Frost and Phill Jupitus. He's done dozens of tours to far-flung corners of the world in the Stephen Frost Impro Allstars, picking up wonderful reviews and hangovers. Richard also had the pleasure of performing with Stephen at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe in a 2-handed short play by Dan Evans and Milton Jones, as well as with the Impro Chums. Richard's first Edinburgh Fringe was in 1979 - there's a picture below with 2 National Treasures.
Richard is a big fan of Lemon Jelly and VW Type 2 camper vans. For acting and writing Richard is represented by Michele Milburn at Milburn Browning Associates (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0203 5829370) and for voiceovers by Sue Terry on 0207 4342040.
From 1988 Richard improvised the music on the original UK TV series "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" But he doesn't do music work and has never made a living that way. As the old gag reminds us, "You shag one sheep…"
He runs workshops, hosts sessions for businesspeople who want to communicate better, and sometimes puts on a suit to host conferences. He has appeared in an Italian TV commercial for ice cream. Richard Vranch House was the name of the flats in the first TV episode of Little Britain.
TV documentary narrations also include "The Mentalists" and "Meet The Foxes" in Channel 4's Cutting Edge series. He was the voiceover on the first series of Hotel Inspector.
Richard appeared on a charity special edition of 'The Weakest Link' on BBC1. He's performed Impro comedy at the Ars Nova Theatre, New York, as well as in Galway, Glastonbury, Glasgow, Fowey, Perth and on board the P&O cruise liner Arcadia. "...showing flashes of inspired wit and performing remarkably nimble three-point turns whenever they found themselves heading down a comedy cul-de-sac." - The Scotsman (Impro Chums) 26/8/2005.
In 2004 he played an evil father and a cheery but impotent lighthousekeeper in the play 'DOGMAN' alongside Miranda Hart and Tom Price, in Edinburgh and at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith. He also completed an impro tour of India, Malaysia and Barbados.
Richard won the IVCA Gold Award for an animated short film for Boots which he made with Lucy Allen. Together they have made animation sequences for 'Smack the Pony' (Channel 4) and the Body Zone of the Millenium Dome. They've had cartoons published in Punch, The Spectator and Maxim.
In 2003 Richard co-wrote and appeared in two series of the BBC Radio 2 show Jammin', winning a silver Sony Award for Radio Comedy.
In 2002 Richard co-wrote the play 'Ryman and the Sheikh' for Tamasha, who originated the play and film East is East. The show played at the Pleasance, Edinburgh, the Manchester Contact Theatre and the Soho Theatre, London.
Richard has toured the world acting in sketch shows with the English Teaching Theatre, from Mexico to the Middle East. The picture is from a 1988 tour of Cyprus, Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, playing at the Palestinian El-Hakawati Theatre in East Jerusalem. The Bedouin policeman in the picture saw the show in Amman, Jordan. Richard also appeared in the company's 30th anniversary show in London in October 2003.
His one-man show 'MEXICO' premiered in 1999 and was staged in London and Edinburgh. He's also written bizarre stuff. In autumn 2013 he improvised lots of adverts for Tom Tom while driving a car around Islington.
Other telly bits include The Paul Merton Show (BBC 1, co-writing and performing), Jackanory (BBC1, making up stories), Smack the Pony (C4, sketches and animation), Let's Pretend (ITV1, presenting), You Bet (ITV1, betting on JCB challenges), Hello Mum (BBC2, as Bernie Bermuda), The Secret Policeman's Biggest Ball (sketches with Eleanor Bron and Willie Rushton), Cue The Music (over 100 episodes presented/busked with Tony Slattery on ITV1.)
Richard and Jim Sweeney's script 'Lucy and the Vamp' was nominated for the 2000 BBC2 Greenlight Award.
With Tony Slattery he presented the Channel 4 TV quiz series 'The Music Game'. In this picture the guests are Nicholas Parsons, Betty Boo and Neil Innes.
He has appeared as a panelist on radio panels like Wordly Wise, Just a Minute, Puzzle Panel and Cross Questioned. He wrote lines for the classic topical comedy show Weekending. He co-wrote and performed the 1989 BBC Radio 2 sketch show 'The Hot Club' with Arthur Smith, Josie Lawrence and Ronnie Golden, and hosted a BBC Open University radio programme about how comedy works abroad.
Theatre work includes co-writing and performing in the Paul Merton show (a 3-man 'variety' show with Lee Simpson and Paul, on tour then a two-week season at the London Palladium in 1994), and playing the Grand Vizier in the 1986 Latchmere Theatre panto. Richard has acted on the London theatre fringe, playing the father in the sinister family Christmas comedy 'The Dead Set.' He wrote and performed in the children's show 'Jewels in Jeopardy' at the V&A Museum of Childhood in 1991.
He has acted in impro shows at the Royal Court Theatre and Ambassador's Theatre with Eddie Izzard. The Comedy Store Players continue their annual trips to Shakespeare's Globe and Regent's Park, and have played the Olivier Theatre. He has appeared in the Impro Musical (Donmar Warehouse), Live Soap at the Donmar, The Impro Panto (BAC), The Cannery (San Francisco) with Greg Proops, Keith Johnston's 'Micetro' (Hackney Empire), Improbable Theatre's 'Lifegame' both as a company member and the protagonist (West Yorkshire Playhouse), 'Animo' (Brighton) and 'Improbable Tales' (Nottingham Playhouse.) He improvised at the 1998 Montreal Juste Pour Rire comedy festival and in scores of impro tours of the Middle East, Far East and Ireland in Stephen Frost's Impro Allstars.
His Ph.D. is in radiation physics from the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University, and he was a Research Fellow at St John's College, Oxford, for 9 months. He used to teach things like special relativity, quantum mechanics, electrostatics and the Uncertainty Principle to the first year undergraduates. He's had research papers (on radiation defects in silicon lattice structures) published in semiconductor physics research journals.
Richard first performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1979 with the Cambridge Mummers, who held a 50th anniversary dinner that September attended by Richard, Joanna Wade, Alistair Cooke and Stephen Fry (Cooke was a founder member in 1929.)
In 1981 Richard began writing and performing a double-act with Tony Slattery. They played on the London comedy circuit, and successfully topped the bill at Malcolm Hardy's notorious Tunnel Palladium club. Richard and Tony had an impromptu seance with Ki and Viv Stanshall after playing on their theatre boat the 'Thekla' in Bristol docks on Halloween night, 1984. This photograph was taken by Donna McPhail for their 1984 Edinburgh show 'Aftertaste', bits of which are available on various obscure vidoes.
Other Edinburgh shows include The Millies' sold-out runs at the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms in 1985 and 1986, Terror in Toytown, Jenny LeCoat and the Diamantes, and various Steve Frost Impro Allstars and Comedy Store Players runs.
Richard was a founder member (with Andy Smart, Ronnie Golden, Arthur Smith and Tony Hawks) of the risque dance troupe 'Hunx'.