On Tuesday, Punderstandably Improv’s show Improv Towers returns to Hoopla Impro at the Miller. The show has been on a break since November and now it has returned to London Bridge with a show nearly every month until the end of the year. I caught up with fellow Punder Sonja to find out all abut Aprils show.
Hello Sonja tell us all about who you all are and a little bit about yourselves?
We’re Punderstandably, we’re a London-based group of silly people who make you laugh doing short form improv. We’ve been around for about a year and a half now and regularly perform in places like the Hoopla Miller pub.
How did your troupe form?
Not very strategically, I guess more in an improvised way. Holly and James did some courses together and founded a group, then they picked up JBB a drop in where he met Holly and Mike they found in a park at a picnic! Then they held sort of auditions in summer last year and got Amanda, Yiannis and me, and then we scooped up Jake at a jam not long ago.
Tell us a little bit about the show that are happening this week?
Improv towers is a night of short form improv framed as a game show. We’ll have two teams competing by playing all sorts of crazy scenes, and the audience can get involved by suggesting what scenes are based on, deciding which team is winning and popping balloons!
We also have Dereks Mojo and Just Friends performing on the night, so you can get three different types of laughs out of coming to the show.
What improv styles do you want to see more of this year and why?
I don’t have any strong preferences for specific styles, but I think the London improv community could do a much better job at playing for different audiences instead of the usual suspects. Improv is an amazing space where you can see and practice creativity and empathy. More people could enjoy this if we made an effort to invite them. I find London improv teams oddly preoccupied with navel gazing and competition amongst each other.
It is April – the month of fools! What is the silliest character you have brought to a show and why?
I’m probably known at my undergrad university in Germany as the underwater-alarm-chicken. (In German you can make that into a new word – Warnseehuhn!) The suggestion was “1000 miles under the sea” and I was aiming to be a fish, but somehow my co-improvisers fit me into the scene as an underwater chicken guarding the cave of a monster.
What advice would you give for people thinking about starting an improv troupe themselves?
It takes time to get a group of people to really play well together. It’s worth putting that investment in and accommodating the various demands of people’s non-improv lives to stay together and become really good.
What is the best thing about a night at improv for the audience?
If you watch TV or regular comedy/theatre, you get a nice story but the work that goes into it is hidden. At improv, you get to shape the story along with the improvisers. With this version of improv towers, we’re adding a bunch of new ways for audiences to get involved, which makes it more exciting and less predictable for everyone!
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
In three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Fun, laughing, balloons.
QUICK FIRE ROUND
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
These pastries the British have with a Sunday roast
If you could trade lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?
CEO of one of the big oil companies. I’d spend the day selling off all drilling and oil refinement facilities and invest that money into renewables projects.
If you could paint anything what would you paint?
Actually I do paint, though only well enough for landscapes. Being able to draw humans, including movement, emotions and all, would be the dream.
What is the most delightful word you can think of?
Chocolat, in French!
Currently an a Capella version (by Range ACapella) of “you will be found” from the musical “Dear Evan Hansen”
Who is your comedy hero and why?
Deborah Frances White, because of the Guilty Feminist podcast. It’s hilarious and socially impactful at the same time.
What is your favourite movie quote?
“Of course it is all happening inside your head Harry but why on earth would that mean it is not real?” Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Who is your favourite cartoon character and why?
The mouse from the german “Sendung mit der Maus”. It’s somehow able to solve every problem it encounters by drawing doors into thin air (which then become real doors) or making its arms and legs grow to fit the challenge.