The show ‘And Another Thing’ was different to any performance I had ever seen before, and that’s because it was completely improvised. Personally, I cannot imagine anything more terrifying than performing an unscripted show, so I must start by praising them initially for that, let alone their fantastic acting and impressive ability to create a successful performance on the spot.
“I would have truly believed that the performance was rehearsed”
UoN Improv Society’s long-form troupe consists of actors Ian Sheard, Lara Cowler, Josie Thomes, Ellen Schaffert, Sam Andre, Molly McConnell, Mia Ottman and Reisha Gill, along with directors Liam Webber and Mitchel Masterson. There were few props, just a couple of chairs. Instead, some of the actors took turns to personally pose as furniture themselves, including a ticklish canvas, which was not only creative but also fun to watch. If it wasn’t for the occasional laughter from the performers, I would have truly believed that the performance was rehearsed due to their high-quality acting.
The performance was based on a suggestion from the audience; we all wrote down something that ‘we wish we had said’, and this could be anything. One of the performers picked out a suggestion randomly from a hat, and he could not have picked a better one. The option that was picked was ‘I wish I had said yes when offered another chocolate digestive.’
The actors performed around the scenario from the quote; for example, a girl who had broken her grandma’s necklace paid to get it fixed. Her mother phoned and told her that it didn’t matter if she hadn’t gotten it fixed. If she had stayed in the shop for another digestive, it wouldn’t have been too late and she would not have had to spend all that money.
“The performance was full of dark humour”
Not only were the performers able to create amazing scenes, but the show was extremely funny. The audience, including myself, was laughing so much and so loudly that I could barely hear what they were saying at times. The performance was full of dark humour, with a particularly funny scene in which three girls were confessing their sins to their dying grandmother, including an incident where they killed their Granddad to get money for his organs.
There were also various times in which one of the performers screamed ‘flashback’ when one of the other actors were talking, and they acted out the scene that they were discussing. This was a hilarious and cleverly thought-out technique. One example which the audience enjoyed was when the conversation about giving birth to a sheep was then acted out in front of the audience.
“The performance was so captivating.”
Following the stories surrounding the quote from the audience, various entertaining scenes took place. This mainly followed the story of a French artist who had a wife and many mistresses, to then discover that both the man and his wife were in fact gay. I was unsure how this was relevant to a digestive, or even if it was meant to be, which meant at times the performance seemed a bit forced and random. However, this did not really matter, as the performance was so captivating.
Images courtesy of Nottingham New Theatre