Gwyneth Goes Skiing is returning to the scene of the crime!
Linus Karp and Joseph Martin are Awkward Productions and they’ve got a hit on their hands with Gwyneth Goes Skiing – recounting the deliciousness of the skiing collision and subsequent courtroom drama starring Gwyneth Paltrow.
After a successful run in London, the team are now taking the show on the road. Next stop is a US premiere in Utah – just down the slope from where the fateful incident involving Ms Paltrow and an eye doctor took place.
The show is en route to the Edinburgh Fringe festival this summer and seems to be gathering momentum along the way – a recent addition has been the vocals of Darren Criss – the talented singer co-starred with Paltrow in a number of episodes of Glee.
We caught up with Linus Karp for a behind-the-scenes look at the production.
When you saw the coverage from the Gwyneth court case, did you immediately see this as a potential piece of theatre?
It was so camp and ridiculous – which is exactly the kind of theatre we love. We said to each other at the time “there is a show in this”.
What was your creative process to pull this show together – was it always going to be a musical?
It’s not a musical!
We always want music to play a key part in our shows and when Leland came on board and wrote some unreal bops for it, the musical aspect of course became even more highlighted.
With our work, we love combining performance forms – verbatim, fantasy, puppetry, drag, multimedia, audience participation, and music.
Variety labelled it a musical pretty early on – we love musicals but don’t think we have enough singing to talking ratio to qualify. It is simply a play with music.
Do you think Ms Paltrow would appreciate the way that you’ve showcased the story of her courtroom drama? Does she have a sense of humour?
Gwyneth Paltrow is an icon. If you name a candle “This smells like my Vagina” or win an Emmy for Glee, you are bound to be both self aware and have a sense of humour.
We’ve had people who’ve worked with Gwyneth reach out and say they think she’d find it hilarious. We would love to welcome her to our Goopy fantasy world.
After the success of your Diana biopic, and now Gwyneth, what other iconic women could potentially get the Awkward Productions treatment?
I guess we’ll have to see which iconic blonde woman manages to catch our eye in 2024!
What do you hope that people feel when watching Gwyneth Goes Skiing?
We want them to feel like someone just skied into their effing back – but in a good way.
There’s a lot to love about Gwyneth Goes Skiing – it’s silly, it’s camp, and it doesn’t in any way take itself seriously.
Linus Karp and Joseph Martin are engaging performers – wholeheartedly throwing themselves into these characters. Martin’s dancing was particularly joyous and his puppetry was impressive.
In a similar vein to their Diana production, there is some audience participation and this is handled effectively. This is the kind of show that you have to go into with the mindset that you’re going to have a good time – a few drinks in the bar beforehand would be a sound move.
One of the challenges with Gwyneth Paltrow as a character, and the source material of the skiing accident and the trial, is that it is all so inherently ridiculous. I happened to be sitting next to Yasmin Finney, who confessed that she didn’t know that much abut Gwyneth’s side-hustles and questioned whether Goop was actually a real thing. This gets a bit tricky when we’re relying on a fair bit of exposition to get the story across. What’s real and what’s dramatic licence? Where does the wikipedia page stop and the comedy start?
The phone-in from Blythe Danner – as played by Trixie Mattel – worked well. The musical numbers I was less sure about. Lip-syncing to pre-recorded tracks is difficult to integrate into a theatre experience. What are we doing here?
Is this a show worth seeing? Absolutely. Gwyneth Goes Skiing probably still has a bit of development and evolution to do, but it’s a fun night out that’s also a timely reminder that you probably don’t need a candle that smells like your vagina.
We wish them well!