The Nursery Theatre specialises in improv, presenting regular seasons of work at the Edric Theatre in south London. I’d never seen improv – improvised comedy – before, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I hoped that at least one of the performances would be to my taste.
The evening began with Flashbulb, a show in which actors had to improvise scenarios based on old photographs displayed on screen. Naturally enough the scenes were variable, but several were very funny indeed and I was impressed with the imaginations of the actors.
The second piece was Impromptu Shakespeare, in which several actors had to improvise a Shakespeare-style show including elements chosen by the audience, throwing ping-pong balls into one of the actors’ breeches (!). I was incredibly impressed with the talent of the actors: their Shakespearean-style speeches were brilliant, and the whole show was very clever and funny.
Finally, we were treated to a performance by Tim Soszko, a US comedian. He performed improv sketches inspired by words suggested by audience members. Again, these were variable but some were excellent – I thought the pigeon sketch in particular was worth the admission price alone!
Overall, my first experience of improv was a positive one. Improvising certainly keeps performers on their toes, and it is entertaining and surprising in equal measure.