This month we are going behind the scenes of the Newcastle based improv show Let Us Make It Up To You to give you all the inside information and to give you more into this great little improv show that happens regularly up in the North East. In this second part of the interview we talk to the group to find out a lot more about the plans they have in store for the next year, favourite scenes and much more.
What are your aims for your show for the improv seasons of 2018 /2019 ?
We were overwhelmed by the response we had when we were looking for guest groups and workshop facilitators and cannot wait to get more people to Newcastle. In December, Fena Ortalli is coming over from Madrid. We have heard great things about him and his pitch was really good. International influence on the local scene is great.
It is also a hope that we see more groups start to spring up in the North East that have grown from the two schools of improv in Newcastle. In June we had a group from Durham university doing a historical influenced long form format and there is something great about seeing young groups getting into their stride. We want to be able to showcase exciting new improv from this city as well as from further afield.
We are also striving to make The Hang as good as it can be. The core group has now got a great chemistry, but we are currently working with more local improvisers to expand the team.
What is YOUR favourite Let Us Make It Up To You show you have done this year and why?
(Will) Tricky! Either the first I saw (I was working away and couldn’t play) when I was like ‘Holy shit, we have a thing here.’ It was a like a dream. Exactly what I wanted in the city we had, or the beginnings of. That or when Kevin Scott of PIT came and played with us. It was a total joy watching him and Alex and John play together and again, I didn’t have to fly to Europe or London to see it.
(Owen) I find it very difficult to pick a favourite show. My favourite “Hang” was based around a police stakeout where I think we nailed exactly what we were trying to do with the format.
There was a great feeling about the first show because we showed ourselves that the overall show format could work with lots of different styles.
What is the best thing about being at a Let Us Make It Up To You show?
The venue is amazing. The audience is always great and desperate to get involved.
We feel we really deliver on the promise of every show being different. The combination of local and guest acts can bring very different energies
What is the most challenging thing about hosting a night?
Being able to remember and say all the slick things you know need to be said and you said without thinking in a rehearsal or jam.
Trying to make the show move quickly, but making sure that you are not leaving behind
What have been some of your specifically favourite scenes you have created so far on the show and why?
(Will) Alex and I got to do some trance mask, which was rare for us but totally amazing. And it was extremely well received, which is always a worry with weirder stuff!
(Owen) I have really loved doing my one man musical act. On one occasion I had the whole audience chanting as a chorus of dogs and cats, which was really exhilarating.
What have been the worst?
There was a night that we just couldn’t get it together. Space night. Oooof it just would not get on its feet.
As Will mentioned above, we did a hang set in space that fell a bit flat, but we learned a lot from doing it. We probably got too excited by the theme and forgot some of the basics of the format.
How do you decide who to have as a guest at each of the shows you host?
It has been very varied. We have had requests to perform, we have asked acts we like and we have taken applications.
Once we know which acts we are using we try to create a varied bill that will have a good flow to it. Try not to put pressure on slow/solo acts to open the show and try to make sure the final act is something that will have a climax.
“The venue is amazing. The audience is always great and desperate to get involved…”
Who would be your dream guest to appear and why?
(Will) Shaun Kinley. He is for me an improviser who displays all the best things I love about Impro. The parts about warmth and human connection. The kind of performer you want to be on the stage with because you know it’ll be fun and adventurous and supportive. Like a warm hug of a scene. I’d like to be as good as him one day.
(Owen) I would be really keen to get project 2 here. I have always enjoyed watching Katy and Chris because they have both truly embraced improv as a performance art. I also feel the local scene would love the sci-fi genre.