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 Robin to find out what Swipe Right has in store.
NAME OF SET: Animal Speed Dating
TIME SLOT: 2:10am Friday Night / Saturday Morning
Hello Robin! Tell us about Swipe Right and the name of your set!
Hello Holly! We’ve been a team since late 2015, and love doing improv that digs into weird relationships. Despite the team name we’ve never done a dating show, so now we’re doing one with stuffed animals for the Hoopla Improv Marathon – Animal Speed Dating.
How did you come up with the name of your show?
I think the show was Rosie’s idea on the group Whatsapp, and Animal Speed Dating seemed like a good, does-what-it-says-on-the-tin description. Unless it leads you to expect real animals of course which, for the sake of clarity, there absolutely won’t be. Only the animals of your mind.
Tell us a little bit about your style of improv?
Grounded with a shot or two of weird, and quite organic on stage when it comes to our edits and everything else. In our normal sets which don’t use stuffed animals, we use music to inspire our first scene and go from there.
What will your set be about?
A monkey’s dogged quest for love, through the perils of modern dating. Real hero’s journey stuff.
What other acts are you looking forward to?
I’m intrigued by what will come out of Balloon Modelling at 11.45pm on Friday night, and by the long list of exotic-sounding acts that make up the free Friday night zone as a whole. It sounds like a fever dream. I think I remember laughing a lot at Pie Hard last year so I’m specifically looking forward to that. Otherwise, I’m also excited to seehow the improvised Crystal Maze works
because I’ve never seen it before.
What have been some of your favourite Swipe Right shows to date and why?
There was that night we were on the same bill as 30 Rock’s Scott Adsit at the Nursery, which was just ridiculously exciting, and supporting the Maydays in Brighton was a real high point, too. Recently we had a really fun gig at Seen At 10.28’s night at The Wheatsheaf – we had this pre-show aim to be much sillier than usual and definitely checked that box.
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?
It can work really well – TJ And Dave on Vimeo for instance , I’ve sat down with dinner to watch that like you’d watch TV – but the sound and light has to be bang on for it to work, and to
make up for what you lose in the atmosphere, the drop-off for which – I think – is larger than in a broadcast of scripted theatre because of the way improv is created.
But it’s much better than not seeing it – there have been some acts I’ve missed live at the Nursery
but managed to catch on its YouTube channel, and that’s felt like a great second best.
In terms of social, though – which is what you actually asked, sorry – I think short form might work better because it tends to be punchier, more widely recognisable and understandable, and I imagine is also easier to package than a scene from a long-form set that just felt like a highlight. (In terms of long-form, I’ve always thought ten minute monoscenes might work well in a web series form.)
What have been some of the most unique and different improv sets you have seen this year and why?
Chris Fair drew a live comic book with lasers for his Laser Comedy show, which was pretty amazing stuff. Another act that pops to mind is The Dreaming who were just so amazingly strange, full-throttle and committed. Just glorious to watch. In that area I’d also point to Theatre
de L’Oignon’s show at last year’s Slapdash. Just so physically free and bold and the trust between them all was incredible. I went on about that show for weeks.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
See monkey date!