Mad Scientist Betty Bubbleworth, Late Night Nigel and TJ Thornbury, boasting a Ph.D. in Molluscs (or was it Surfboard Technology?), were among the eccentrics strutting their stuff at the Michael Pilch Studio on Tuesday night as The House of Improv popped up with its latest offering. The director's torch is now singeing the fingers of Killian Lohmann, but the juggernaut rolls on as before. Characters and their occupations are picked out by lot from audience suggestions, and assisted by fig leaves no thicker than a clothes rack, an accompanying keyboard player and their own native wit, our half-dozen bold spirits, in rotating twos and threes, plunge down the bumpy, comedy road in search of fame and glory.
I say comedy road, and the audience all around me found plenty to tickle their laughter buds, though I myself, on my 4th HoI outing, was possibly more taken by the fantastical flights of fancy that poured or dribbled from the imaginations of our players. And their number boasted one exceptional performer in this regard.
M/C for the evening Vidy Reddy was a genial host, with dazzling grin and commendably brief intro. Will
It would be hard to over-praise Blake Rayment's contribution. Adept at embarking on meandering streams of consciousness, no detour or diversion defeated his ability to find his way plausibly back to base, even when apparently enmeshed in a maze of cul-de-sacs. With face expressing incredulity at the whims of his fellows, his speed of thought was admirable and his command of gesture and sound effects was a delight. So spontaneous seemed his delivery that I had to pinch myself that he was performing from no prepared script.
The show is a demonstration of much nerve and no little skill, in what's perhaps the most demanding of all theatrical forms. It hurtles on all this week with characters and scenarios afresh each night.