Physical comedienne Kristiina Tammisalo on The Receptionists: “Laughter breaks language barriers”

Physical comedienne Kristiina Tammisalo on The Receptionists: “Laughter breaks language barriers”

The Receptionists, a physical comedy show created and performed by Inga Björn and Kristiina Tammisalo, delights London audiences this week as a part of Made in Finland mini season at Jacksons Lane. In this interview one half of the pair, Kristiina Tammisalo, discusses the performance and talks about the productive dynamic that exists between the duo.

Where did the idea for The Receptionists come from?

“This performance is rooted in another Kallo Collective production called Chameleon from 2017. Inga and I have been repeatedly told that we are very similar in many ways, which is obviously very interesting. It’s also something that works as a fertile ground for comedy. In the Chameleon this similarity between us was used for the first time but only in one scene. This performance and this scene that was set in a hotel reception served as a springboard and new material started developing spontaneously. Collaborating with Inga was immediately very natural and productive. The Receptionists evolved smoothly into a spin-off from the Chameleon and quickly took on a life of its own.” 

What has the reaction to the show been like so far?

“The Receptionists has been very well received. Since the show’s premiere in February, we have performed it in Finland but also in the Czech Republic and Andorra, and now in London. Even though this kind of a physical comedy is always impacted by the audience that happens to be gathered, and even if new shows always evolve a tiny bit after their premiere, the response has been very positive.”

What kind of an audience are you trying to reach?

“Our target audience is everybody. The show doesn’t have an age limit for example. The Receptionists is set in a hotel reception, so it might be easier for adults to relate to it because of personal experiences and knowledge related to hotel brands. On the other hand, children are often able to find different but still appealing levels from the performance. The key point is that the show is easy to approach and doesn’t require in-depth analysis or prior knowledge on contemporary circus or physical comedy as art forms. We try to place the spotlight on the comical and even absurd sides of ordinary experiences.”  

What expectations do you have for your London visit?

“Nationality can have an impact on the audience on some level but we don’t have any special expectations when it comes to the London audience. Humour and the theme of the performance are humane on a very general level. Physical comedy is easy to approach because you don’t have to worry about things like language barriers. Laughter connects everybody. We are also very happy to be able to perform at Jacksons Lane. We have heard many positive things about the venue from other Finnish artists and performers that have paid a visit to the place before us.” 

What kind of plans do you have for the future?

“It can be said that we are still in the honeymoon phase with this show. There’s been a lot of demand for next year so new projects are not on the table yet. We are particularly keen to perform this show in Finland but will also keep our eyes open in case interesting opportunities to take it abroad come our way.”


The Receptionists at Jacksons Lane on the  20th and 21st of November at 7:30pm. Tickets: £10-16. Duration: 55min.
Jacksons Lane, 269A Archway Rd, Highgate, London N6 5AA


Text: Eeva Lehtonen Photo: The Receptionists



What’s On