MissImp’s website states that “Comedy improv is the fusion of sketch and theatre, with the script lying ignored on the floor. We’ll take you to places you’ve never been”, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. The show was a whirlwind of different locations and characters, with funny and gloriously bizarre scenarios rolling straight off of the tip of the performers’ tongues to come to life milliseconds after they’d been thought up.
The troupe responded impressively well to the unusually difficult scenarios suggested by the audience, including having to create a scene in a harem prison speaking with a Bosnia and Herzegovinian accent, which could easily have sent less talented improvisers into a panic. It was a testament to the natural comedic talents of the performers that they could not only continue the funny dialogue in these situations, but could even burst into song and make it rhyme when the off-stage keyboardist decided to join in and add a bit of musicality to the scene.
To help was an improvisational musician on hand with a keyboard, adding atmosphere and sometimes creating full-on musical numbers
Central to the performance was the interactions between the members of the troupe, in particular how well they worked as a team. There wasn’t any competitiveness to be funny or talk over each other – instead they were quick to jump in and help each other in the rare event someone seemed unsure of what to say next, or if the scene didn’t appear to be going anywhere. As a result, scenes between two or three people were augmented by the joining in of more and more characters – particular highlights including a ‘private’ couple’s therapy session where the therapist claimed he was ‘just going to observe’ the couple, prompting the introduction of an observer for the therapist, who was herself being watched. This teamwork was incredibly important to the whole show and the success of the comedy as they bounced off of one another, taking another’s funny line and making it snowball in unexpected and entertaining ways.
To help was an improvisational musician on hand with a keyboard, adding atmosphere and sometimes creating full-on musical numbers for the actors to place their scene. This inclusion of music also led to an ingenious scene where three actors were discussing how to put on a production of Cats whilst avoiding copyright issues, and the musician began playing the song itself as the actors tried, and impressively succeeded, to substitute every line with synonymous words.
The spectators were largely in control, deciding the setting and basic concept of the scene
The experience of being in the audience was also different from conventional theatre, as the spectators were largely in control, deciding the setting and basic concept of the scene at hand. For example, audience members were asked to write a line of dialogue on a scrap of paper on entering the venue, and these were then incorporated into a scene involving pirate sat-nav, which was particularly challenging for performers who had to shoehorn lines such as “Slugs call snails gypsies” and “Look daddy, I’m a farmer!”.
Essentially, MissImp’s performers’ comedic timing and ability means your Friday evening’s entertainment is in good hands, dispelling some of the uncertainty that surrounds improvised comedy shows. Shows are worth missing a night at Ocean for – not to mention with over two hour’s entertainment for under a fiver, your bank balance would certainly thank you for it!
MissImp Improv occurs on the last Friday of each month (bar August and December)