Published: 21/08/2015 15:03 - Updated: 21/08/2015 15:12

Kevin is happy to be in the Funbox crew

Gary, Anya and Kevin open the Funbox at Eden Court this weekend.
Gary, Anya and Kevin open the Funbox at Eden Court this weekend.

YOU might know the faces, you might know the songs, but the name might be less familiar to Eden Court audiences — yet.

However, behind the name Funbox are Anya Scott-Rodgers, Gary Coupland and Kevin Macleod, who until recently were the face of long running Scottish children’s show The Singing Kettle.

When show founders Cilla Fisher and Artie Trezise decided to retire the Sing Kettle as 32 years of entertaining generations of children in Scotland and abroad, the existing cast decided they were not yet ready to hang up the colourful costumes and stop entertaining their young and enthusiastic audience.

So — together with the Singing Kettle’s fourth and furriest cast member, Bonzo the Dog — they have reinvented themselves as Funbox, making their debut on Scottish stages with hardly a pause between the Singing Kettle’s final show in mid-February and the first Funbox show on 1st March.

"We did try to buy the name, but Cilla and Artie didn’t want anyone else taking on the name," Macleod explained.

Name change apart, parents who have grown up with the Singing Kettle themselves will find much that is familiar in Funbox, not least those Scottish songs of childhood like Ye Canna Shove Yer Granny or Bring Back My Bonnie.

"We wanted to build on the same base, which is singing traditional songs that you don’t hear any more," Macleod said.

"In some way the Singing Kettle, and now hopefully us, are the only places keeping these songs alive. But I think we can possibly trade a bit more on cultural references which the Singing Kettle shied away from, so there are little references to television shows.

"But there was never a moment where we thought we would stop doing it together. We just enjoy being with each other too much. It is the best job in the world. I get paid to behave like a seven year old, so for me it’s the ideal career!"

Macleod’s involvement with the Singing Kettle actually began behind the scenes as the show’s tour manager, but given his background as an actor and musician, he began to pop up on stage as well and became a full time performer after Cilla and Artie’s daughter Jane Fisher opted to leave the show in 2001.

"I think I was always destined to be on the other side of curtain," Macleod said.

"I brought a lot of theatricalness which hadn’t been there because the others weren’t actors, they were singers and musicians. I was the other way round, I was more of a theatre based person who could sing as well."

Some Highlanders have already had a sneak peak of the Funbox in action after they appeared on the main stage at this year’s Belladrum Festival, a year after appearing there as the Singing Kettle when their set generated more social media traffic than any other at Belladrum with the exception of headliner Tom Jones.

"It’s an interesting thing to play, because we were thinking: is this our audience? But everybody was a kid at some point and they all know these different songs," Macleod said.

"Everyone’s at these festivals because they want to kick back and relax and it is such a family festival anyway."

• Funbox present Pirates & Princesses at the Empire Theatre, Eden Court, at noon and 3pm on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd August.

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