One of the most important things about being an improviser, I believe, is watching others improvise. What about if you come across a show that doesn’t just show improv in action but also is a great inspiration FOR improvisers to use – you are not going to ignore it, instead you are going to talk about it and recommend it.
I am sure people who read this site have probably come under the impression that I am a huge James Acaster fan, which is true, I love his quirkiness, persona and the way that he adjusts like a chameleon depending on what he is appearing on or is on stage. I only realised how much of an Acaster nerd I truly am, when I was watching this show and he is out and about with Josh Widdicombe’s teacher and i guessed the production company that filmed it (I will also go onto blame the fact I am a video editor and that I pay attention to the way people edit things, but hey you are the reader you can judge which one it was. (Turtle Canyon Comedy if you are interested – check them out they have some really fun content))
I watched this show initially because it was fronted by Acaster and Josh Widdicombe, not really knowing what to expect but looking at the advert I guessed it would maybe play on the sort of conversations Josh used to do on his Radio X show. I then saw that Tom Craine and Matthew Crosby were behind the scenes in the creation and I knew the show was in good hands and expected the best.
The show is based on hypothetical situations and comedians answering how they would approach each one. The thing I liked about it was that improv was being used – not like shows such as Mock the Week where you can tell its scripted or not all on the spot, but you can feel the improvisation and that is what I liked – the unpredictability of parts of it.
I think as an improviser, there are two things that you can get out of this show that don’t just mean that you watch the show but can actually use it in your everyday rehearsals.
1) The improv in the show
Ok, so don’t expect any Josie Lawrences or Ryan Styles sort of improv but just embrace the situations. The fact that these are comedians improvising and not improvisers also makes this fun as you can see the way that people approach a scene. A good example of this is when James re-enacts a car with Rob Beckett and When Jessica Knappet has to improvise a speech. It is interesting to watch because analysing comedians doing improv shows you another way in which improv can work. They already have the big followers – look at the way they approach audience and reel them in. It is an interesting concept.
2) The actual game CAN be used in rehearsals.
The thing I adore about this game is that the actual questions used in each round can actually be used in REAL LIFE IMPROV! Take note of the questions being asked, put them in a hat and then pick them out going round the circle with everyone having their own ideas and then the master decides which one they like the best! You may not have Acaster as the judge but hey a fellow improviser will work just as well!!!
I have high hopes for this show and keep my fingers crossed it does well because the world is needing a new and interesting panel show and this just might be it.