All this week we have exclusive interviews with just some of the acts that are performing at the Hoopla Impro Marathon in London Bridge between 7pm Friday – 11pm Saturday night. I caught up with Vanessa and the rest of the group to find out what this new troupe have in store.
NAME OF SET: Cookie Me!
TIME SLOT: 11:20am Saturday
Hello Vanessa Tell us about Cookie Me!
Hi Holly, we are called Cookie Me! (set of the same name) .We are made up of Lou Bogatchek, Sam Wood, Nick Allibone and Greg Davies and myself.
How did you come up with the name of your show?
It came about during rehearsal. We used an online generator to give us suggestions and there is a button to “open a cookie”. Nick would shout “cookie me!” when he ran the generator and the name came from that.
Tell us a little bit about your style of improv?
Vanessa: I love improv with a strong focus on emotions and relationships. I usually like a slow burn so this show will be a nice contrast!
Lou: I like big dumb fun and ruthless edits, just fast, stupid stuff. I see improv as weirdly tall kids playing make believe on a stage!
Nick: My style ranges from the deep depths of darkness to the weird and wonderful of crazy town… I love performing long form and one day will initiate some ideas I’ve brain dropped on paper. Oh and similar to Greg push the limits!!
Greg: I love not needing to remember my lines or the plot or whether I left the oven on. I like pushing settings into extremes of mundane detail or high-fantasy adventure set in a land ruled by hamburgers. I’m pretty sure I switched off the oven.
What will your set be about?
It’s a really fun short form set doing scenes inspired by fortune cookie fortunes.
What other acts are you looking forward to?
Vanessa: I hear there is going to be an improvised sports day taking place in the late night zone on Friday. Still looking for a partner for the 3-legged race. Also Dark Matters (shadow puppet improv!), Phil Lunn Is…; it’s hard to pick just a few!
Lou: The RH Experience, Jinni Lyons, Jack Left Town, Big Now, and Dreamweaver Quartet are all-time favourites of mine. And in stuff I haven’t seen yet but can’t wait to, Side Scrollers (I LOVE the idea), Small & Mighty (they’re amazing as separate people so they gotta be good together, and their concept’s really interesting). But in general, really looking forward to the jams, musical stuff, and unexpected bits! That’s the fun of the marathon.
Sam: Improvised Crystal maze with Liam Brennan!
Nick: Hip Hop Fairy Tale because there’s nothing cooler than a rapping Fairy & Fright Club.. Just to hear Liam Scream…
Greg: Improvised Crystal maze with- Hey! Sam, I thought we agreed I got to say this!
What have been some of your favourite shows you have performed in to date and why?
Vanessa: with the exceptions of jams and course showcases, this is actually my first foray into performing so watch this space!
Lou: Like Vanessa, I’ve mostly done jams and a few one-time-only teams unfortunately… But I’ve done a few shows with real-life rockstar Dan Attfield as our multilingual muscal twoprov Swords & Guns which is a lot of fun and unexpected things. And I’m trying to make my latest one-time-only team No Sad Scenes an actual thing. It does what it says on the tin, so it made me HAPPY.
Nick: My most recent is And Now!!! A Monty Python format where the weird and the wacky happen from mashing up the audience suggestions.
Greg: I did a few stand-up gigs and my favourite was the one where I remembered the closest approximation to my set. Unfortunately I don’t remember which one that was. Otherwise I was in an improvised Rom Com which worked pretty well.
A lot of people at the moment are trying to transition improv into video to post on social media channels – do you think this works for improv or do you think the art form is lost in the transition?
Vanessa: I think it has the potential to work with the use of clever technology such as live videos. I think that to some extent, some of the art is lost when you remove a live audience because you may wonder how much editing took place to get the best bits.
Lou: I’m just glad I can show it to my non-improv friends, saves me the hassle of trying to explain a scene I saw without sounding bonkers.
Sam: It’s great that awareness about improv in general can be spread online via video, although I don’t think it’s a worthy substitute for the real thing (but maybe a good taster!).
Nick: I believe that anything’s possible….however the whole pick a word and the energy from the audience is lost. That doesn’t mean it can’t be. Using improv to create sketch shows for a media outlet works really well, especially with the creative process.
Greg: I think it works really well as a short form exercise in front of a live audience. But otherwise as an inspiration for sketches. Steve Roe once inspired me to sketch a lobster invading Brighton, Pacific Rim style.
What have been some of the most unique and different improv sets you have seen by other acts this year and why?
Vanessa: Duck Duck Tales is really cool! It’s an adventure book format which encourages lots of audience interaction through making choices for the story.
Lou: I am ready to die on the battlefield for The Dreaming.
Sam: I’ve really enjoyed Project 2. It’s got a bit of everything – it can be deep, light hearted and surprisingly meaningful, all underscored by live spacey synths.
Nick: Sam…. and ….Greg I was going to say the same thing!!! Seeing Fright Night gives that 80s horror vibe that you can’t see anywhere else now.
Greg: I’ve really enjoyed Project 2- GODDAMMIT SAM!
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
We have formed especially for the marathon so we don’t actually have an online presence. However for our personal social media it’s:
Vanessa: Instagram: @vanessatsu
Lou: @loudemile on twitter!
Nick: Instagram of the great inspriging Cat Boss @alfiecatgram or the real me that isn’t controlled by any furry beings @liquid_state_uk
Greg: Well if you want to see Pacific Rim lobster destroying Brighton on my deviantart account you’ve got: https://www.deviantart.com/gergling/art/Motivational-Lobster-717446169 OR there’s my Facebook for my ultra-right-wing rantings: https://www.facebook.com/greg.davies.7
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Free fortune cookies!