Improv: ‘A Day in the Life’@ New Theatre

Taking anecdotes from the audience, performers created short sketches elaborating on ‘A Day in the Life’, improvising quick-witted and quirky scenes with a fantastically adaptable cast.

The night started with the host warming up the crowd. Quickly realising that we were going to have some impact into the journey of the evening, an unexpected pressure grew as the audience retraced their lives trying to identify an interesting anecdote, eager to participate in the show.  As the show progressed the audience livened up to the interaction aspect, appealing to the idea of a short play, a moment in your life performed and elaborated in front of you.  Impressed with the innovative and hilarious storylines suddenly born, there was instant admiration for all members of the cast.

The Improv performers were joined by New Theatre’s House band ‘Keep the Tip’, who welcomed us with a jazzy jam introducing the light-hearted evening. The trio of bassist, guitarist and pianist kept up with the cast and provided a spontaneous accompaniment highlighting moods and creating depth within each sketch.

The direction of lighting created structure to the tangents of the performance. A simple soft light used on stage and audience connected the two in moments of engagement and exchange of stories. A harsher spotlight set a dramatic yet comical mood for monologues, promoting audience members to momentary player status. In addition to ‘A day in the life’ a ‘storybook’ scene was collaborated through audiences’ suggestions. From a variety of household items an egg whisk was chosen to become the leading role in an amusing narrative. A cast member constructed a tale on stage where other performers interpreted the story illustrated in a freeze-frame picture book fashion.  A flash-effect between these apparent pages of the story created an explosive feel of high energy coupled with suspense between scenes. In brief moments without lighting it was assumed performers were conversing yet we wouldn’t be surprised if such discussion was needed with the clear chemistry within the group.

What may sound like a complex and confluent production was constructed with such ease and causality we were amazed with the quality of the show, astounded that this was all improvised. With the collaboration of the cast synchronised with the lighting and band improvisations the fluid production of the entire evening was nothing but impressive.

Alex Assael & Susannah Parry

ArtsArts Reviews

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