Published on August 27th, 2011 | by Amanda0
Comedy Review: Laughalot Improv @ The Duke Pub
I have been to my fair share of comedy gigs in my time but have never had the pleasure of going to an improv show before. I’m not really sure why that is. However, tonight that changed. I went to see Laughalot Improv at the Duke Pub. The Duke is situated off Grafton street and the improv takes place upstairs in a very cosy room! I can honestly say I was not sure what to expect, having never even seen the likes of “Whose line is it anyway?” I was a total newbie. What I will say is I was not expecting what I got.
Laughalot Improv is a comedy improv group made up of 7 members: Neil Curran, Brian Quinn, Declan Ryan, Shane Robinson, Maria Dillion, Ruari De Burca and Patrick O’Callaghan. (Pictured below) They are a subsidary group of NoDrama Theatre Group.
They perform totally unscripted material based on audience suggestions. I had the pleasure of spending time with the group before the gig started and I can guarantee that nothing is rehearsed ahead of time!
The show is split into two sections with the first half consisting of a range of hilarious “theatre games” such as Bootleg Movie which involves the audience getting a “sneak preview” of upcoming film releases such as Lightbulb of Love and Two weeks in Argos (based on audience suggestions!) and Scenes from a Hat which involves the group acting out scenes based on random sentences from the audience. This level of quick thinking and ability to switch between scenes takes great skill and these guys have it in bucketfuls.
The second half of the show is based around Long Form Improv, tonight I was informed that they used “Harold” (thanks Neil!). For this Improv they take a word from the audience, in this case ‘camera’, and run a 30 minute improv from that. This half of the show had me on the edge of my seat. What I liked about this was though that even though it was totally unscripted, it still had continuity in the fact that they came back to the same sketches which made the whole thing come together for me.
For me, as my first improv show, I don’t think I could have asked for a better one. Laughalot are totally unscripted, they are audience-based suggestions but they make it their own, it is not run of the mill stuff these guys do. I like the fact that there is no front man in the group as all 7 members did an MC job on one of the games. From a venue point of view the Duke is perfect, there is no stage which some may say is a bad thing, in my opinion this adds to the uniqueness of the performance, it makes the audience feels somehow closer to the action!
Having spoke to the group before the gig they explained that improv is only as mental as the imagination of the audience on the night. This was evident tonight with suggestions like ‘Kentucky Rainbow’ floating around for one game in particular. What I get from all 7 members is a passion for what they do. I think this is what makes them so good at it. They really enjoy it and this shows through their performances.
Laughalot Improv will go far, they have the talent and judging by the full house in the Duke pub tonight they have the following of fans. They play the Duke on the last Thursday of every month, the website promises to have you laughing so much you’ll pee yourself, go along next month to test the theory and experience something new and fresh in Irish comedy! I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed…….. and don’t forget that spare pair of underwear!
And if you really can’t wait to see them, they’re playing the Irish Museum of Modern Art at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham today as part of the Kilmainham Arts Festival. It’s Long Form Improv and it’s on from 1.30 – 3pm. Enjoy!