CARAVAN Guys Theatre Company perform their debut show, How To Beat Up Your Dad (The Musical), for the first time in its entirety at The Arts Barge Riverside Festival on Saturday evening.

On stage at 6pm on the Selby Tony barge, moored by Tower Gardens in York, will be Albert Haddenham and York actor, musician and writer Theo Mason Wood, son of York playwright Mike Kenny and stage and screen actress Barbara Marten.

First making his mark on the York music scene with Bonnie Milnes in the darkly humorous The Lungs and Gwen, Theo graduated from the drama and theatre arts degree course at Goldsmiths, University of London, two summers ago.

Now comes Caravan Guys' tale of one young man’s journey through manhood, taking him from being a meek teenager looking for the secret, to losing his virginity, to becoming a young man stealing Yakults™, searching for happiness and finally standing up to his own dad with his fists.

Please note, Saturday's show is a "free-form piece of dark comedy about the damaging and violent nature of masculinity and doesn't actually give any instructions on beating up your own dad". Instead, as told through a cocktail of performance, spoken word, music and storytelling, How To Beat Up Your Dad is a comedy about masculinity and all the wrong ways to solve your problems.

Here Theo steps out of the caravan to answer Charles Hutchinson's questions.

Who are the Caravan Guys and why is the company so called, Theo?

"Caravan Guys is myself, Theo Mason Wood, and Albert Haddenham of Bridlington, a charismatic sausage/multi-instrumentalist with the best sense of humour and big strong hands.

"We met about eight months ago and immediately found that we found the same things funny. On New Year's night, we drunkenly swore to make something together and that’s how How To Beat Up Your Dad (The Musical) was born.

"People do awful things, really weird awful things and Caravan Guys want to show you why and make you laugh at them. We are the draughty corridor between hilarity and horror. We are the unknown stain on the caravan floor and the reason it’s going cheaply."

What was the inspiration for the show?

"The absurdity of masculinity. The script was originally a short story I wrote; I compiled some real stories of extreme and absurd situations that I and other men I know have been in and then applied them all to one character. I find myself constantly amazed by the lengths men will go to assert themselves. It’s shocking and often unpleasant but also really funny."

Where do you stand on masculinity? Some say men are becoming emasculated, such as in the way they are portrayed in adverts and increasingly on TV. On the other hand, your play highlights “the damaging and violent nature of masculinity”. Discuss...

"Although the phrase gets used a lot I really do think that masculinity is spectacularly fragile. As a culture, we’re all becoming more aware of this, so the cracks in the macho façade are growing bigger and bigger, and I think we’re all a lot more able to see it for what it is.

"The play shows how sexism and homophobia are often just defences against feeling emasculated. These tropes of masculinity say a lot more about the individual’s sense of self than it does about the groups they are attacking.

"As men, we have been taught that sadness, anxiety and vulnerability are not valid emotions; to cry is to be weak and to be weak is to not be masculine. Therefore, often men will push outwards when experiencing these feelings, they will turn it into rage, aggression and violence."

How is that reflected in your play?

"This is what I mean when I say the play is about the damaging and violent nature of masculinity, I mean that many men don’t have the correct tools to deal with their emotions and will lash out because anger is seen as masculine while sadness isn’t. "Although this all sounds very serious – which it is – our show is largely a comedy and we aim to create a space where we can all laugh at the strange things men do to protect themselves from feeling small."

Explain the provocative choice of show title…

"This is not a musical, nor is it a guide on how to beat up your dad. I don’t know your dad, he might be really hard.

"Our hero, Amon, has a lot of emotional issues tied up in his experiences with his Dad when he was a child. The show starts with Amon as a pre-teen upset because he hasn’t been allowed to come to his own dad’s wedding.

"The play then follows Amon into adulthood and becoming ‘a man’ via some pretty terrible experiences. Finally, he wants to confront his father and get some closure but the man he returns home to isn’t the alpha male he grew up in fear of. Now he does meditation and has started wearing beads.

What do you love about dark comedy? Your songs with Bonnie Milnes in The Lungs and Gwen occupied that terrain too.

"I think comedy is a brilliant vehicle for making a point without boring people. Serious issues can be very serious and often no fun to talk about.

"Comedy allows people to enjoy thinking and learning; comedy makes things that are hard to swallow much much easier to swallow. Personally, I’d rather have a laugh than a scowl but that doesn’t have to mean the content of discussion can’t be an important one."

There's nudity in the show…why?!

"People are paying £8 for a ticket, so I want them to feel they’ve got their money’s worth."

Are you off to this summer's Edinburgh Fringe with the show?

"Not this year, but we’re aiming to take the show up in 2020. If anyone has any handy connections, please let us know!"

What are you up to next, Theo?

"Currently I perform comedy music under the title Jean Penne and I’ll soon be releasing a small book of short stories. Me and Albert are going to continue to try and become the Simon and Garfunkel of dark comedy. We’ll take the show down to London, hopefully Edinburgh and then the rest of the world (Bridlington) and then get cracking on the next play."

Caravan Guys Theatre Company in How To Beat Up Your Dad (The Musical), The Arts Barge, York, The Arts Barge Riverside Festival/Great Yorkshire Fringe, Saturday, July 27, 6pm. Box office: 01904 500600 or