Those Who Can’t present Crystal Mess | Preview

Those Who Can’t present Crystal Mess | Preview

CultureHUB speaks to The Man With That Burly Chest, actor and co-writer, Stephen Beggs, ahead of the hilarity.

By James-Alexander Johnson

Brace yourselves as Those Who Can’t prepare to cook up Crystal Mess, their fifteenth anniversary cackle-fest as part of this year’s Belfast Comedy Festival. Friday 07 October at The Barracks will bubble over with sexual tension, serial killers, raunchy monarchs and irascible wives. This relentless, retrospective, kaleidoscopic hoot-a-thon is a celebration of untamed proportions. CultureHUB speaks to The Man With That Burly Chest, Stephen Beggs, ahead of hilarity.

Tell us what you’re cooking up in Crystal Mess?

A while host of weird and wonderful characters and situations.  Things that will hopefully take our audience by surprise!

What do you think Dan Leith, Rachael McCabe and yourself bring individually to this collective chuckle-fest?

We have quite different personalities, I think, but it all seems to work like magic when we come together.  Dan and Rach are both very musical, so they bring that to the table. Rach is the most well-read person I know, so we often have lots of literary source material in our shows.  That said, the literature tends to be put through the TWC blender – we have the Brontës in the style of a New York style rap crew taking on ‘Wuthering Heights’ in this one!  As to what I bring…I bring those dazzlingly white pants.

What influences you and tell us about your creative process?

We’ve been influenced by lots of people and groups over the years – Monty Python, Pete & Dud, Alexei Sayle, Morecambe & Wise, The Kids In The Hall, Stewart Lee, Chris Morris.  Whatever makes us laugh, I suppose.  It helps that we make each other laugh!  We get together to discuss ideas and overall themes for our shows and then write the actual sketches separately before emailing them to each other.  If we all like them and think they’re funny enough; they’re in!

Those Who Can’t are 15 years in the funny business, what keeps you driven?

We still really enjoy getting on stage and making people laugh!  If our audiences are enjoying it then so are we. There really is no better buzz

How have you seen Belfast’s culture scene change since the first Those Who Can’t?

It’s blossomed!  There are so many wonderful events, festivals, venues, companies and artists in Belfast.  It’s very exciting to be part of.

Do you enjoy performing in The Barracks?

We love it!  It’s a great, intimate little venue.  Very atmospheric.

What does the future hold for Those Who Can’t?

Another 15 years, hopefully!  We’re still loving it and so are the audiences!

We see you baring that burly chest, Stephen. Are we to expect flesh as well as frivolity?

Yes, although it’s completely tasteful and artistically valid….mostly.

What’s the funniest word in the world?


Those Who Can’t: Crystal Mess will be performing on Friday 07 October as part of Belfast Comedy Festival at The Barracks, tickets are limited so book ‘em quick.


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