The cinematic experience of Lights! Camera! Improvise! begins as soon as the lights start to dim and Oscar, a character that claims to have “every movie ever made…every film you could ever imagine” invites the audience to request the ingredients of a movie that will be created instantaneously.
Whilst the cast act out the audience’s democratically customised movie, the action is interrupted with commentary from Oscar, who uses the powers of his remote to control the action, instigating sticky but equally hilarious scenes that challenge the cast for both the audience’s and what seems to be Oscar’s own enjoyment as well. Moments of deprecating the spontaneity of the improvisation do not go amiss but indeed add in highlighting the absurdity and hilarity of the plot.
Phil Boothman: Just over three years, I started back in August 2008 at a variety night at The Oakford Social Club in Reading, where I used to live. Because there weren’t too many places to gig around Reading I was the only comedian on the bill, so the audience didn’t really know what to make of me. I got nervous, hit myself in the face with the mic as I got it out of the stand and stumbled drunkenly through a 10-minute set, but it never put me off!
As soon as Chris Ramsey came on stage, his ease and eagerness to interact with the audience was apparent and, if there wasn’t a time limit, the interactivity could have gone on indefinitely but, believe me, nobody would even think to look at their watches!
Ramsey’s likeability, charisma and “sandancing” charm created a relaxed feel to the whole show with seamless transitions from one brilliantly told story to the next and some really fantastic attention to detail! The fast-paced and highly energetic articulation of each joke both linguistically and physically and the relatability of each anecdote was so well-delivered that the odd heckle was not in fact a heckle but was the perfect example of audience members just “joining in” because they were completely captivated by each story.
On the day of the Wikipedia Blackout what better show to watch than Festival of the Spoken Nerd! Helen Arney, Steve Mould and Matt Parker delighted the audience with science, story-telling, songs and experiments. Missing fundamentals to astronomy to flame tubes were all delivered with a comic angle and a nerdy twist.
“I’ve never seen something like that before!” This quote is from the lady sitting next to me after the first scene of Doctor Brown’s show Becaves and it is the most apt way of describing every element of the show.
A performance by Doctor Brown (Philip Burgers) is an experience like no other, so much so that his style of comedy should in fact be in a genre of its own! Burgers has a very special talent, which is that he has an innate ability to form a connection with his audience by picking up on the humour in a room to such an exceptional degree and then performing in such a way that at times it seems almost comically customised.
Whatever you have planned until Saturday 21st January 2012, make sure at least one night involves going to the Soho Theatre to see Max & Iván: Are Homes & Watson.
Whether you have encyclopedic background knowledge of Holmes & Watson or perhaps have never heard of them before, the whole show is made completely accessible so what may seem as quite a niche topic for a comedy show sees Max & Iván yet again mastering an idea that is beyond anything you could imagine before you see it live.
If ever there was a quote by Paul Foot that succinctly summarised how an audience is to react to his comedy, it is the above!
In an outfit that resembled one of the students from The Magic Schoolbus meets Shoreditch chic, Malcolm Head provided the support for Paul Foot, dabbling in different forms of poetry, stories and manifestos. Although the detail and creativity of the stories was humorous, Head’s reception seemed more that of an appreciated humour rather than laugh out loud funny, although there were a few moments of strong laughter that provided a gentle appetiser for the treat about to come.
As the second half began, right from the off-stage announcement, Paul Foot took his audience on a journey of unexpected silliness and extraordinarily hilarious humour. As Paul revealed the structure of the show, ironically this was no preparation for the “glimpses”, “nonsense”, and of course, “Penny” extravaganza that was to take place be it on the Bloomsbury Theatre stage or in the stalls.
Joz Norris, the writer and performer of this one-man show, came on stage in a bright red shirt, a pair of grey jeggings and two pairs of sunglasses that provided an effective visual indication of just how moronic but equally hilarious Matt Fisher is. As soon as the show started, the intentional lack of powerpoint to performer synchronisation and the unique yet confident dance moves that lacked synchronisation with the music sparked off the “night of chat, rock, humour, dance, mime, crime and flirting with Tooting’s foremost neo-pre-Raphaelite” – an ambitious tag line but by the end of the show an accomplished one.
The theme music for Joe Wilkinson’s entry was MGMT’s ‘Kids’, a song that seemed to encapsulate his playful opening as, after raising his hands high in the air several times, as is characteristic of him, he jumped down and lovingly hugged individual members of the audience before literally rolling back onto the stage. This opening acted as a somewhat preface to the show as Wilkinson, whilst humouring the audience with a few anecdotes, used this opening to introduce his own support act.
The evening began with the compere Matthew Crosby dabbling in some light banter with a member of the audience who arrived late. Although humorous, his prepared material was a lot stronger, turning his honest confessions into some very good jokes indeed!
The Apocalypso duo, Matt and Stu, came on stage in an outfit that seemed inspired by CSI meets a visit to the London Zoo giftshop headware section. Despite the intimate size of the theatre, each had a microphone switiching from explanations of a supposed Apocalypse to more general topics of stand-up. The whole show centred around “educating the past about the future” up until the year 2042, with many new species, laws and personal “future” experiences recounted. There were lots of props, although very much on the homemade side, but you could tell that a lot of time, thought and effort had gone into the concept of the production.
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