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Hirsute duo stick together to cook up a song and dance in a live spectacular

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 01, 2013

Si King and Dave Myers – aka The Hairy Bikers – will be cooking up a storm on stage in Torquay as part of their UK Larger Than Live theatre tour

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They roll as one entity... The Hairy Bikers, plural, forever joined at the shoulders in good-humoured, food and motorcycle induced camaraderie.

Even on the phone – by the wonders of modern speaker technology – Si King and Dave Myers talk virtually ensemble as "we", finishing each other's sentences, affirming each sentence and sparking off each other's enthusiasm.

"We played belter last night, didn't we?" they agree. "We have such a great time, we really do."

Affable regular fixtures on our TV screens for the past nine years, the chaps are referring to their current UK-wide tour with their Larger Than Live show.

The duo will be stopping off for one Westcountry night only at Torquay's Princess Theatre on March 7, and they're excited about it already.

"We had a stonking Sunday night there on the last tour; it was absolutely bonkers," they recall.

These stage performances are an obvious extension of their televised journeys from place to place, travelling by motorcycle, checking out the local cuisine, cooking up a delicious storm and meeting food fans of all sorts along the way. It just happens on stage in a different town each day.

They say it is basically an evening of live cooking, singing, dancing – yes, dancing – and lots of laughter, in great company.

"It's quite high energy and fast-paced, a proper night out – our nod to vaudeville," the HBs croon. "The show has a pretty set framework, but obviously the people we get along on each night make a difference, with audience participation.

"We've got a kitchen that comes with us that looks like it has come out of Star Trek; it's all a bit camp."

Wind back almost a decade and Si, from County Durham – an assistant director and locations manager for film and television productions, including the Harry Potter movies – and Dave, from Cumbria – a make-up artist, specialising in prosthetics – met on the set of a Catherine Cookson drama adaptation, quickly bonding over cooking, eating and riding big, solid motorcycles.

They kicked off with The Hairy Bikers' Cookbook – a TV series and accompanying book – and haven't looked back since, creating an enviable model for kitchen-based teamwork. They cook in unison, taking turns to lead a dish as head chef, the other acting as sous. And they write together too.

There have been series and accompanying volumes of their treks through Britain and across the globe. There was Mother Knows Best, a Christmas special, and their Bakeation.

The idea for the live show was a natural progression; they tested it out four years ago, renting a theatre in Barrow-in-Furness for two nights and doing a largely improvised Evening with the Hairy Bikers.

"It went down really well, so we thought we'd do some more; BBC Worldwide have come on board now and we are making it a more regular thing," they beam. "We really appreciated every opportunity we have been given and we have taken most of them and run with them."

The tour title Larger Than Live is a bit of a misnomer these days. The pair were getting a tad tubby with all that good eating, but they have slimmed down a fair bit; they went through the process in front of the cameras for their TV series and book Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight.

"We had got dead fat; we were on blood pressure tablets," they confess. "We needed to do something about it. It's good that the show is quite physical, so it helps keep us in trim."

There have been standalone books without the TV bit, too. The latest in their long list of titles is the hot-off-the press (excuse the pun) – The Hairy Bikers' Great Curries ... a companion to their Ultimate Pie Bible, completing their golden duo of eating pleasures.

"Curry is the other one of our favourite things. We have travelled quite extensively through India –up the eastern seaboard and from Goa up towards Mumbai, and we picked up lots of recipes and techniques along the way," they say.

"We've also included some lighter meals. Indian food lends itself very well to that – you can still get great flavours without all the calories."

They will be cooking a curry live on stage at Torquay, along with some treats from their Best of British selection.

For the lucky few there will be a chance to taste their wares. For the rest of the audiences there will be an element of foodie torture.

"It's a bit like watching a mucky film – being tantalised and titivated."

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