The Nursery Presents: Impromptu Shakespeare and The Maydays’ Happily Never After

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 Presents: The Improvised Enid Blyton Adventure! – The Society… – Ten Thousand Million Love Stories

When I am put on the spot I tend to freeze, which is probably why I admire improvised theatre so much – the idea of performing a show made up on the spur of the moment is something I can barely contemplate, so I have the utmost respect for anyone who can. The Nursery Theatre are specialists in improv, and they also have a new venue near Liverpool Street, so I went along to check it out.

The Improvised Enid Blyton Adventure! was the first item on the bill, and the reason I went along, as I was a huge Blyton fan as a child. Based on audience suggestions, the talented cast created a daft and hugely entertaining tale involving Nazi smugglers, villainous nuns and a suspicious shopkeeper.

The Society For The Improvement Of Mankind In All Its Flaws And Wonders picked out a member of the audience to use as inspiration for their show*, creating scenes based around their chosen individual’s love of sci-fi and his relationship with his partner. The use of an audience member adds to the unpredictability of this show, and I found it very clever and inventive.

Ten Thousand Million Love Stories ended the evening, a show inspired by love stories taken from the audience. This was another clever piece, alternately sweet and amusing.
I’d be happy seeing any of these acts again – they were lots of fun and I was continually impressed by their inventiveness.

 

*If anyone ever fancies creating a bespoke show for me, please set it in nineteenth-century London. It should feature ghosts, poets and absinthe. Oh, and put a penguin in there somewhere.

The Nursery Presents: Tim Soszko – Flashbulb – Impromptu Shakespeare

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.