I went back to the Nursery Theatre to see some great improv.
First up was Impromptu Shakespeare. I’ve seen this group before and they were just as good this time, weaving a tale involving a duel, a jester and impressive sounding Shakespearean language.
Next, a Tim Burton-inspired improvised musical, Happily Never After by The Maydays, which featured secretaries, a chute and the secrets hidden in the basement. This was enormous fun and I have no idea how they were able to improvise something like this.
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.