Review: The Best Book I Never Wrote, an improvised comedy
SIX undergraduates dressed in black, a bespectacled female nestled in an armchair and a pianist in the dark.
What’aveyougot? An anxious audience seated for one reason only; to laugh.
What’aven’tyougot? Err, a script.
Fear not, you are in very capable hands.
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The eight-strong ensemble of talented undergraduates performing at The Nottingham New Theatre is sharp, comic and I must say, very clever.
This week’s show is the Improv Society’s first of 2013 with its brand new troupe, The Red Herrings.
The hour-long performance last night of ‘The Best Book I never Wrote’ was a riot of sharp wit, the absurd and brilliant buffoonery.
The group possesses a gusto and shared sense of ‘the funny’ which makes for an evening of seductive silliness in the grounds of the University.
The audience bellowed throughout as we were privy to the tomfoolery of improvisation at its best.
The characterisation displayed by all actors was exemplary and the generosity and chivalry amongst the group would render any director redundant.
The girls in the troupe, Emily Brady and Layla Mannings, both gave stellar performances. Emily has a beguiling comic energy and a beauty which allows her to claim the stage and Layla’s impressive mime and sharp timing meant for many a belly laugh.
Ben Hollands was charming and his accurate impersonations of a squirrel and later a pigeon were priceless. Ben graces the stage with a certain quirky wizardry which induces pure pleasure in an audience.
During each of the five performances, the last being tonight at 7pm, the audience is invited to offer written suggestions regarding character, plot and genre which then feed the shape of the show. Don’t worry if you are the shy type; the suggestions are submitted prior to entering the auditorium.
Among much more, last night’s show saw the death of ‘innocence’ meaning ‘little children would now know what their sexual organs were used for.” Alex Southern’s ‘John Smith from the Justice Department’ was truly hilarious.
Scott Luland, Lord of the Manor for the evening, was gracefully executed and Harry Turnbull’s unbaffled butler was smashing. The two together were a real treat.
Finally, Pete Allot on the piano provided the soundtrack with a finely tuned intuitive sense of the tragicomic.
The Nottingham New Theatre has productions running almost every week of the University year. The company has taken shows to Edinburgh for the last ten years and judging by the quality of this week’s show it is easy to see why.
So if you are free tonight and fancy a slice of the delights of the unexpected then I would strongly urge you attend. You will not be disappointed.
Tonight doors open at 7.00 pm for a 7.30 start.
Tickets: NT Member £4
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