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Showing posts with the label improvisation

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Belters and bohemians: Opera Locos @Sadlers_wells

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At the start of the Opera Locos performance, the announcement says that they really are singing. You could be forgiven for wondering that, given the amplification turns up the backing track and the voices so loud that you can't always tell what's real. But this is a mostly harmless and slightly eccentric blend of opera classics fused with the occasional pop classic. However, recognising the pop tunes would help if you were over a certain age. The most recent of them dates back twenty years. It's currently playing at the Peacock Theatre .  Five performers play out a variety of archetype opera characters. There's the worn-out tenor (Jesús Álvarez), the macho baritone (Enrique Sánchez-Ramos), the eccentric counter-tenor (Michaël Kone), the dreamy soprano (María Rey-Joly) and the wild mezzo-soprano (Mayca Teba). Since my singing days, I haven't recognised these types of performers. However, once, I recall a conductor saying he wanted no mezzo-sopranos singing with the s

Game play: Lamplighters @ORLTheatre

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The world of spies as depicted in John Le Carre novels seems to be an unlikely source of amusement. All that drinking, bureaucracy and lying. But in Lamplighters it’s really a backdrop for some inspired improvisation and audience participation.  Led by Neil Connolly as the spymaster, he’s living out a childhood dream to play spies... With a bunch of random audience members.  It’s an immersive theatre experience. Which means that when you enter The Old Red Lion Theatre you can expect to be part of the entertainment.  But only if you want to.  After he’s finished chatting you up at the start (and sizing you up), there’s a slightly unconvincing mystery to solve, villains to find and stop. And a secret briefcase. And he needs the help of the audience to make it happen. And get laughs. This concept works well in making the ordinary seem hilarious. Assuming there’s always the right balance of weird and adventurous audience members to make the show hilarious every night.  On my night the aud

DIY whodunit: Murder, She Didn’t Write @lsqtheatre @degreesoferror

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Improvised comedy can be hit or miss, but Degrees of Error might be onto something with this do-it-yourself whodunnit. It’s currently at the Leicester Square Theatre on the last Sundays in February, March and April. It could be described as what Agatha Christie might have written if she hit the sherry a bit too much.  Audience suggestions set the scene for the murder and the murder weapon. One person in the audience gets to choose both the murderer and the victim by picking their name from a deck of cards.  The Leicester Square Theatre with its range of bars inside the theatre sets the scene to loosen up the audience with ideas. It seems to work. Much is up for grabs, in this unscripted murder mystery. Not only is the victim unknown until part way through the show to the cast, but so is the murderer.  The end result of this in February was it was at a hen night when the future Bride was murdered by her friend. The murder weapon was a wet tea towel.  It’s fascinating and hilarious to w

Mad as hell and serving Cava: Derailed @Ovalhouse

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Sometimes the best laid plans go awry. But when life gives you lemons make lemonade. Or in the case of Derailed at Oval House , make gazpacho. And serve Cava.  The premise is that in the post-Brexit UK, they are heading back to Spain. But rather than leave downtrodden and defeated, they’re going to stage the mother of all leaving parties.  The music blares, the party poppers fly and the party begins. The piece opens with a series of photos from Patricia and Mercè‘s 12 years living in the UK. With the grey skies and dismal towns you start thinking Brexit wasn’t the only reason for their decision to leave. And with a series of improvised scenarios you’ll find yourself live tweeting a petition, having a long hug with a complete stranger. Or wearing an unconvincing wig holding a banner protesting something. Along they way they chart some of their life in London and in Spain.  The premise of Patricia Rodríguez and Mercè Ribot‘s work is to use physical theatre and improvision to create somet

Made up voices: Me and Mr C @Ovalhouse

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After watching Gary Kitching’s improvised performance at Oval House Theatre , Me and Mr C, you realise that you probably had the most fun you could invent for an evening. On our night, audience members were chanting “Pigfucker! Pigfucker! Pigfucker!” as part of a lesson in organised heckling, while the remainder of us were rolling around in hysterics at the premise. Kitching has come up with an act that derives its humour from getting the audience to do stuff. Lots of stuff. And amazingly everyone does what they are told.

Chance encounters girlfriends take: Blind Date

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It is unusual to be raving about a show that nobody else will see, but Blind Date which is having a limited seven week run at the Charing Cross theatre, is an improvised show that is original and funny where no show will be quite the same, but where each show no doubt shows the magic, sweetness and humanity that arises from chance encounters. Keeping it all together is Rebecca Northan as the optimistic Mimi, who finds herself stood up on her blind date. Rather than let that get her down, she turns to the audience to help her out. She wears a clown nose, speaks with a French accent and has a great set of legs. What then happens for the next ninety minutes is a masterclass in improvisation and working with the audience. Northan, who hails from Canada, and her show has won several awards. She is the recipient of two 2012 Canadian Comedy Awards for "Best Female Improviser" and "Best Comedic Play" for Blind Date, a winner of the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Aw