Published on December 16th, 2011 | by Amanda0
Comedy Review: A tale of 3 Cities Improv
Improv is not a form of comedy I would have been very familiar with, that is before I went along to an improv show by the Laughalot Improv group in Dublin. So when Neil Curran offered me the chance to go to an exciting new side project himself and some other members of “Choke Improv” in Limerick and “The Spontaneous Theatre People” in Galway, were involved in, I of course jumped at the chance! This is why I found myself sitting in Doyle’s pub filled with excitement at the prospect of what the show aptly named “A Tale of 3 cities” would bring! After all no two shows are ever alike! The Make-up artists are made up of Órla McGovern, Tracy Aspel, John Loftus, Neil Curran and Brian Quinn. Music on the night was provided by Niceol Blue.
The show began with a song. What a way to start! Though we were asked to kindly not judge them on their singing ability, but rather on their ability to make up lyrics, I must say they sounded pretty darn good to me. But what did they sing about? It was an audience suggestion of course… a hobby they asked for, Stamp Collecting they got. Hmm, this audience were not going to make it easy were they?
Next up Freeze, where 1 person looked away and was thrown in at will and continued with the scene. I was mesmerised by their ability to jump into a scene without having known what was happening beforehand. The performers ability to think so quickly on their feet is what sets improv performers apart from others.
One of the more competitive games was Continuous Story. This game involved Órla, Tracy, John and Neil fighting it out to be the King or Queen Story teller and avoid having those fatal words DIE DIE DIE shouted at them from the audience! Nerves got the better of them all at some point and all succumbed and felt the wrath of the audience! This was yet again totally unscripted and based on audience suggestions!
One of the funniest games was Fast-forward Rewind. This game involved Tracy becoming a human remote control and fast forwarding, rewinding, playing etc. the various scenes! There were a lot of used words in the various scenes with hilarious consequences! Lots of word mix ups and strange looks and walks on and off stage and various points!
Think you’re good at English? Have an English degree or something? I challenge you to take on these guys in their ‘should have said’ game! This game involved all of them acting out scenes on various locations suggested by the audience with Tracy throwing in the phrase ‘should have said’ when she wanted them to say something in a different way or say the opposite. I write a lot and would pride myself on having a fairly good command on the English language…I wouldn’t be able to handle this game!
Next came the 185 one-liner game. This tested the performer’s ability to think up one-liner jokes on their feet. Audience suggestions included peanuts and comedians. They then made up jokes starting with 185 peanuts walk into a bar and the bar man said we don’t serve your kind in here…Don’t worry it got better than that! There were some absolute gems in there. And some not so wonderful ones…!
My favourite of all games performed on the night was the Improv Olympics. This involved Órla and Brian participating for Gold in the death defying sport of… based on audience suggestion… ironing! This was accompanied by the rather odd, yet strangely musical to the ear commentary from the Malaysian Neil and the Gaelgoir Brian Quinn. I must admit I am not a fluent Irish speaker, but I I understood most of what Brian said. This was an amazing game made hilariously funny by the antics of Órla and Brian in a bid to win, evidence of which can be seen in the picture.
We were then informed that despite the hilarity we had seen that some of the group were “serious actors” and we were about to be treated to a professionally acted scene. Really? That was my initial thought! I should have known better. By the end of the 4th attempt we had seen them cover a toothpick researcher using the emotion of love, hate, joy and based in France and China and boy do those guys REALLY know how to show emotion.
Scenes from a hat is quite a random game. It involves the performers acting out random scenes from phrases that the audience’s members have written down and placed in a hat, and believe me, they are random! Some examples include, “The monkeys lovely shower of ash”, “The hotdog’s first space adventure”, diamonds are a dog’s best friend” and my personal favourite “lost in a ladies toilet”!
The night ended with a song. Audience suggestion of a relative threw up Grandma and something you would find in your attic, threw up cobwebs. This provided a hilarious on the spot made up song with the backdrop of propping up a bar of the Creaky Hooker! Each performer seeming to become increasingly drunk added to the laughter. What a fantastic end to a truly fascinating and bellyache-inducing night of laughter.
The make-up artists are an extremely gifted group of people who have superb comic timing, are hilarious and have a great stage presence. But more than this, they are inspirational. They show you what is possible if you just let go and have some fun.
The make-up artists could very well extend their show to other cities and I for one would be really glad to see this happen. Keep an eye out for more details on Culch.ie. Oh and do yourself a favour… Catch an improv show soon…I can promise you won’t regret it!