Thanks to you guys, you really made my evening!
I've been last year in the Moser Theater on my own, to check what was going on, and I was very enthusiastic on the first night. I went back with my kids (hardly speaking English), and they loved it.
I could not escape going back this year, under heavy pressure, making impro panto favorite ahead of Oxford panto!
And it's been such a nice evening. I laughed, my kids were delighted, with special treatment from the cast. I've been a few times to the Saturday night show, and I think I start to appreciate all members of cast. They all have something special, and all bring something to the play. They always provided a nice moment, and most of all, for fun, and for charity.
This is really improv as I like it, and I will definitely go back next year (anyway, I promised already!)
Thanks to all of you.
Eric (Unverified), 30/12/11
Having seen OCD perform a panto in 2010 and 2011, I can safely say that they do some of the best improvised comedy I have ever seen. Every member of the cast is wholely immersed in what they are doing and their productions contain both subtle and more laugh-out-loud humour. I have been to a variety of of OCD's shows and if you worry that trying a more plot-based show is a bad idea for an improv group, then don't worry, as they seamlessly mix usual improv games in so that it never seems too serious. Also, with such a large cast there are bound to be quite a few weak links, right? Not so with OCD. Virtually all the members are improv masters. Oxford Comedy Deathmatch are hugely entertaning and, most importantly, incredibly funny.
Nick (Unverified), 21/12/11
Hello, OCD here! Thanks for the review. Just wanted to clarify a few things. Firstly, the show is entirely for charity, the Pathway Workshop in Blackbird Leys, so we're hoping to raise a bunch of cash for them. Secondly, it's right that the show isn't entirely improvised – to avoid utter chaos the narrator has a script of sorts to ensure that the panto story is followed – but the actors themselves don't know what games they'll be playing, what characters they'll be, what panto they'll be doing, nor of course what the audience suggestions will be, so that's all improvised. And none of our dialogue is at all pre-prepared – we'll take you finding that hard to believe as a compliment! Thanks again for coming!
Chris (Unverified), 22/01/11
In their promotional material, Oxford Comedy Deathmatch promise to deliver “your favourite pantomimes improvised right before your very eyes.” Indeed, when the nine members of OCD bounded onto the stage at Wadham’s Moser Theatre last night to raise money for the Pathway Workshop, they embraced the traditional pantomime tropes with gusto. Comedy wigs, pantaloons and garish dresses were in plentiful supply, and the audience booed, hissed and rallied in choruses of “he’s behind you!” from the offset.
However, the notion of “improv” was unfortunately called into question very early on, when the narrator kicked off the performance of Cinderella by reading from a script. Despite the disappointing presence of a script throughout, the show did feature many of the customary audience-participation games beloved by the improv comedy genre and the cast showed an unwavering willingness to tackle the challenges thrown at them during games involving word-play, song and mime.
Unfortunately, some of the skits, in particular the Jeremy Kyle and costume-swapping sketches, would have benefited from an earlier intervention by the bell that rang to signal the end of scenes. However, while scenes were occasionally a little drawn out – and the extent to which dialogues were improvised was sometimes questionable - many of the skits were a great success. Highlights included John Hammond’s narration of an educational video supposedly played on an old betamax and a scene in which audience members were invited to take to the stage and move the limbs of Cinderella and the Prince on the actors’ behalves.
Indeed, it was a treat to see Ida Persson (Cinderella) and Nathan Grassi (Prince Charming) perform together, as they were among the strongest members of the cast. Nathan demonstrated particularly strong improvisation skills, reacting very quickly and drolly to changing situations, and unexpectedly stealing the show by way of his understated performance of a camel. Ida also deserves special mention for her sharp wit and creative responses. Too often women are under-represented in live comedy, and Ida more than held her own among her male peers.
The pantomime’s finale was an audience sing-along, which worked surprisingly well and was a stirring way to end the show. Although OCD lacked the spontaneity and fluidity of top-class improv comedy troupes, this was more than compensated for by the infectious enthusiasm of a cast who are willing to get stuck in and not take themselves too seriously. The high energy performances, whirlwind costumes changes and occasional flashes of comedy brilliance make the Improv Panto a thoroughly enjoyable evening – and an inspiring way to raise money for a local recycling project.
Amy Hopkins (DI Reviewer), 21/01/11
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