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Random stuff from the Bronster... especially good to read if you happen to like me.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

my review:

Paul Merton’s Impro Chums – Lowry, 26th May 2006Brainne Edge

Merton: “Last nights play was likened to an old woman’s handbag”

Simpson: “How’s that Oscar?”

Merton: “Erm, it didn’t work properly” ….

… unlike this show, which worked perfectly.

The first thing to note about this show is the word “Impro”. One of my personal passions of comedy, improvisation. It was clear from the outset that a lot of the audience (around 2,000 of them) had never seen a show like this before as Merton asked for a shout from those who have seen improv before. “So, four of you have then”.

The beauty of improv is that it’s truly an audience orientated show. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work with so many people, but it did (despite some slight hearing problems), and it did wonderfully.

The cast for this show were Paul Merton, Lee Simpson (Improbable Theatre), Steve Steen (Whose Line is it Anyway, and more recently Bremner, Bird and Fortune), Jim Sweeney (Whose Line Is It Anyway, Blackadder), Richard Vranch (Whose Line is it Anyway) and Suki Webster (CSP regular guest).

A fantastic night that showed the crowd what these members of the Comedy Store Players ( could do.

With 20 years improvisation beneath most of their belts they are a delight to watch as a unit.

I made plenty of notes about the sketches that came to life on the stage, the one liners, the songs, etc. But the thing about improv is that once that moment is gone, it’s gone, it never happens again, the audience are treated to something so organic and fresh that in that one moment it happens, we laugh, it’s gone… usually forever. The only downside being that when trying to recap the show to friends, all you can say is, “You had to be there”.

Everyone had their chance, it certainly wasn’t Paul Merton’s show, as it were, it was a team effort. There were very few times that the team didn’t gel in the evening, all I’ll say is if the crowd want to sing the Treacle song, let them sing the Treacle song!

1,996 people walked in there not knowing what to expect, and 2,000 walked out with huge smiles on their faces, having been enlightened to the world of improv.

I try and make it compulsory for my improv students to watch the players when in London (Weds and Sunday nights), as they don’t play at the Manchester Store anymore, unfortunately. I suggest you do the same, it’s well worth it.

Local improv in Manchester –


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