Audience participation is always on the menu with improv, but no need to worry about carefully picking a safe seat with this show. The House of Improv - previously seen at Brighton Fringe, Edinburgh Fringe, etc - have opted for an audience participation approach that is respectful, family friendly (the kids in the audience loved it) and unswervingly nurturesome.
From the initial music, gently pitched to sooth a brain frazzled by climate change and ecological collapse, to the final fatalistic flourish of cooperative/competitive dance in a collapsing ecosystem, this show finds dark humour in both humanity’s wrongdoings and our moral contortions as we try to sort things out.
Director and troop leader Sofia Castelló fizzes with delicious nervous energy as she leads (anxiously yet determinedly) from the middle, creating an anarchically flat management structure where literally anything, at any time, might happen. Crew member Kilian Lohmann is an able henchman, cutting a lugubrious swathe through his more starry-eyed colleagues. Sidekicking down the line, Vidy Reddy is inappropriately enthusiastic, unfazeably cheerful, a fickle friend who delights in dropping his colleagues in it; while Kat Cooper reliably and hilariously goes a step too practical and a shade too dark in her attempts to make the best of an increasingly bad situation.
Olivia Route provides a twinkly butch swagger, a quick slapping down of deadnaming, some of the sharpest one-liners. Matthew Kemp on keys weaves coherence and keeps the crew on track and hitting their marks.
Improv is all about group dynamics, so though everything will be different when you see it, and it won’t be the Snazzy-toed Giraffe in peril but another hard-pressed, at risk, species on the brink, The House of Improv will still be quick to deploy wild wit, careful co-working, and maybe the odd (very odd) dance-off to - maybe - save the day.