Bob & Bob Jobbins were hatched in 1981 and named after the South East Asia correspondent for the BBC, Bob Jobbins, whose reports were read out on the World Service to two grateful insomniacs. Realising their true vocation in life they then wrote and presented a series of cabaret pieces at Art centres about Colonel Gaddafi, robot dating services and horse meat recipes to their growing cult following. Quickly disillusioned with the endless dreary and fruitless attempts to obtain funding from the usual suspects – in order to tour their productions, they then embarked down the road upon which they have been travelling ever since; namely street theatre.
Here at least was an arena in which audiences could access and enjoy performance anywhere. The only problem was overcoming the notion that street theatre was mainly the sole arena for balloon modellers, Uncle Funny the clown and other mountebanks. Luckily the Uk has a strong history of bold, surrealist and comic performance innovators coupled with a tradition of entertainment from the music hall period. It was those influences that Bob & Bob Jobbins drew upon to create a whole series of comic street theatre shows featuring Heath Robinson style contraptions (mainly bicycle based machines) such as The Human Gramophone, The Smallest Revolving Stage and The Naughtiest Noise in The Galaxy.
Following the departure of partner Mike Jennings, Andy Coombes (now touring solo) became one of the first to start building and presenting shows using battery powered machines: The Gliding Bishop, Sir Ralph Luvvie, Hello Sailor and The Singing Fireman. Then, in response to childrens curiosity about his comic theatre props and how he made them; Andy began a collaboration with Lucy Jackson (his now wife) and began running childrens creative workshops. Some ten years later they now offer an exciting range of workshops in Animation, toymaking and giant sculptures.
The latest show on offer is The Lighthouse; in which an aged keeper regales his audience with stories about seafaring days, guillemots, sardines and birds mess. Children and adults can enter The Lighthouse or watch animated films through the portholes or on the ancient TV inside. More installation performances are planned. The current show not on offer is Athletes Foot; in which a trucculent and overbearing Colonel exhorts sports enthusiasts, from his giant mobile boot, to use his amazing foot liniment which has the result of making them disappear from view entirely. Watch this space for more exciting projects!