Tonic – the mockumentary

, ,

Client: Rough Magic Theatre Company Summer 2021

When Rough Magic approached me about promoting Tonic; an absurd and hilarious apocalypse-themed musical, it was clear that something different was required.

The video must meet the same standards of humour as the show itself, it had to be engaging enough to get shared, and it had to coax nervous audience members back to the theatre. The ‘traditional’ promo video formula of interviews in a rehearsal room just would not cut it.

My solution? A mockumentary. I scripted a mini-sitcom in the rehearsal room, lampooning every stereotype in musicals, from the tortured writer-actor-composer who feels no-one understands his genius, to the director who is only attached to the project because it paid “a few quid more than the PUP”.

Thankfully, the actors, director and even stage manager were fully on board in satirising themselves, and ad libbed so many killer lines we all wondered why we shouldn’t just go into television full-time.

Tonic: In Rehearsal was shot in one day and released in two parts, the first to promote the Kilkenny Arts Festival run and the second the Dublin Fringe Festival dates.

The videos were posted by the festivals, the actors themselves and Rough Magic, and across all the social media accounts got tens of thousands of views.

The trailer

Using performance footage shot at Kilkenny Arts Festival, I also cut together a short trailer. This was used in social media ads to sell tickets to the Fringe Festival dates. The run eventually sold out.

Camera work: Graham Seely for mockumentary videos and Cormac Larkin for KAF footage

Leave a Reply