For this weeks show of the week we are heading up to Nottingham for a very special event. MisssImp is holding their show Consenting Partners which is an evening celebrating all things twoprov! The show takes place at Nonsuch Studios at 7.30pm on the 18th May. Throughout the week we will have interviews with a number of the acts performing. This afternoon we speak to the twoprov troop The Improclaimers.
Hello! Tell us all about who you all are and a little bit about yourselves?
The Improclaimers are an Improvised Musical Duo. The audience creates the set list, and the Improclaimers craft the suggestions into an unforgettable set of pop hits. From heart felt ballards to punk anthems, this promises to be a gig to remember.
How did the show come about?
Missimp are an improvised comedy organisation from Nottingham that teach workshops and provide performance opportunities for improvised comedy groups. The show, Consenting Partners, has been a staple show of the calendar for the last couple of years, giving performers the opporunity to try new formats for shows, and create some magical with a partner on stage. It was a fantastic opportunity to apply for, and thankfully we are able to perform at Nonsuch with the rest of the fantastic duos that are performing.
How did your troupe form?
Phil and Jack already perform as part of an improv troupe called Rhymes Against Humanity that performs improvised muscials. We thought it would be interesting to try a show format out that was purely improvised songs that have the audiences members as primary song-writers. There also aren’t that many (that we know of) standalone improvised comedy musical groups that purely improvise songs live on stage. We thought it’d be worth a try, so, why not!
How do you prepare for a music based twoprov show?
For the most part, we prepare for a show by gathering together in Phil’s living room, plugging a guitar into an amp, and singing about random articles on Wikipedia, current events, or just whatever we are feeling. Musical improv, in the same way as any kind of improvised theatre, is about creating a space to have fun, be silly, and fail regularly with people you care about and enjoy being with.
We try to prepare by singing together and becoming more in sync with what the other person feels and is thinking, but the fun thing about improv is that there is always a slight disconnect or change in energy, and that is where the fun (and possibly a hit record!) can be found; it’s just abut trusting that change in the dynamic, grabbing it by the horns and committing to it.
What is the best thing about being in a twoprov?
The best thing about being part of a two-prov is the space it provides to express ourselves. Often when working in bigger groups, improv can be fast and chaotic, and jokes come thick and fast. Being on stage with just one other person allows you to create something together, slowly figuring out what the song you are singing is really about; what it really means to your characters, or you personally.
What is the most challenging?
Fortunately, we have been performing improv for a few years now, and the most challenging parts such as, fear of messing things up, or not being funny, are minimised by the fact that we will support each other on stage, regardless of what is going, to make the show fun for everyone (hopefully!). The most challenging thing, now, is improving the songs, and perfecting the genres of music so that they are almost indistinguishable from real songs that take months to craft; in the same way that The Ruttles gets funnier the more you love The Beatles!
What makes you different to other twoprov acts out there?
We don’t know of any other musical two-provs that only do improvised songs. Lots of fantastic improvisers, and improv show, perform musicals which transition from scenes into song. This format allows us to concentrate on just the songs, and express ourselves just through the audience suggestions and the noises that come out of the gutiar and our mouths.
What advice would you give for people thinking about starting an improv troupe themselves?
Do it! Improv is love. Improv is positivity. Improv is infectious. The East Midlands has a fantastic community of people who care deeply about independent theatre and improv in particular. The improv community is so supportive of each other, and it’s a fantastic thing to be part of, whether you want to perform on stage or not!
What is the best thing about a night at your show for the audience?
The best thing about the show is that it will never, ever be seen again… hopefully in a good way! What improv does best, and what our show does too, is take a suggestion of something personal and meaningful to the audience and give them a show totally unique to them. No audience will see that show again. Everyone in the auidence and on stage is invested in the show being a success because everyone is invested in the suggestion and the jokes. That sense of support and community is something that is unique to improv, and its just a really lovely thing to be part of.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
People can follow us here: https://www.facebook.com/Improclaimers/
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
It’ll be fun!
QUICK FIRE ROUND
If you could be any famous duo from TV, Film or Music what would your twoprov be and why?
Phil: Musically, I’d say Simon and Garfunkel (dibs on Paul Simon) because I just love the way they work together: the harmonies, the instrumentation etc. From TV, probably Mitchell and Webb? I like the variety of their performances – they’re not typecast as any particular character, and their sketches can be intellectual or physical, sophisticated or disgusting, grounded or bonkers.
Who creates the craziest improv characters?
Jack: I think we both have our moments. Phil often starts songs off whilst I am figuring out the style of the music, and the chord structure that we are going to sing to. So often the charcters, or the bonkers songs, are set by him!
What is your favourite thing about one another?
Jack: Phil is just the humble and reserved man off stage but on it, he is an absolute comedic tour de force. Without fail he will make me cry with laughter every single rehearsal.
What is the thing that the other would go viral for?
Phil: Gosh, good question! A recent Rhymes show saw Jack play about four very different characters at once, so perhaps a video from a show showing him run around seamlessly performing a load of characters in the same scene?
You have £50 in your pocket to buy the other a present – what would you get them and why?
Phil: I would probably go to a greetings card shop and buy every gaudy bit of tat with “World’s Greatest Teacher” written on it.
If you had to release a duet – what would the song be and why?
Any duet we perform would be improvised. But maybe we could raise millions of pounds for charity with an improvised charity song? Sort of like Live Aid but without Bono!
The toughest question of all – last rolo – would you keep it or give it to your twoprov buddy?
Jack: Give it away. 100%. Not because I want Phil to have it, but because it’d be near the bottom of the chocolate list for me!
Phil: I’d let Jack have it and hold out for something with a biscuit crunch!