Each week, the Gazette shines a light on one of the borough's more interesting residents or organisations. This week CHRISTIAN WALTER talks to Andy Spiers, one fourth of a comedy sketch group making quite a name for itself
ANDREW Spiers is rapidly making a name for himself in the comedy world as a writer and performer with his sketch group Idiots of Ants. Having used all the advertising muscle of the internet through Myspace, Facebook and YouTube to drum up publicity, the quartet is going from strength to strength.
The name is a play on the term 'idiot savant' and since making their debut in 2007, the group has enjoyed the attentions of a diverse fan base and acclaim from entertainment writers.
Andrew, 28, who lives in Ruislip, says: "We've had an incredible response and that motivates us to work harder. I was always told it would be an uphill struggle and was prepared for some tough competition.
"Without the continued support of my former tutors, especially Ryan Taylor, I'm not sure I would have had the confidence to showcase our work so publicly, or would have been able to develop the spectrum of knowledge needed to produce the material.
I believe we owe a large extent of our success to these people, so for that I will always be grateful."
Idiots of Ants comprises the talents of Elliott Tiney, whom Andrew first met at the LAMDA school of music and dramatic art, and two of his fellow students from Birmingham University, James Wrighton and Benjamin Wilson. Theirs is an outwardly improvisational, yet impeccably choreographed comedy routine that looks set to become a winning formula.
Their material was described by one critic from the Scotland on Sunday as 'sheer excellence', and another from Time Out magazine as 'marvellous very slick and very funny'.
Andrew fondly recalls his time with the Beck Theatre, where he was involved in numerous productions for five years from the age of 14, presenting plays and performing in its annual summer project.
After leaving drama school in 2004, he starred in the satire show News Revue at the Canal Café theatre in London, before touring Edinburgh with his group in 2007 and appearing on the E4 show and BBC Three feature, The Wall.
His advice for others looking to break into the comedy industry is to start small before trying to infiltrate the glamorous but often punishing venues of London.
"It's important to have a thick skin in this business," he says. "Performing in front of a small crowd at a local production company not only builds your confidence, but gives you the opportunity to see whether you are as convinced by your act as you want your audience to be.
There really is no substitute for experience."
* For more information about forthcoming gigs, visit www.idiotsofants.com/gigs .