With Christmas just around the corner many improv groups are celebrating the festive season by performing special themed shows! This month we are talking to acts who are celebrating the season in style! Today we speak to Lisa of Mulitverse to find out all about their panto themed show raising money for Shelter.
Multiverse Improvised Panto
Date: Saturday 7th of December
Location: Rosemary Branch Theatre
Price: £5pp All Proceeds go to Shelter
Ticket Link: www.hooplaimpro.com
Hello guys tell us all about your troupe?
Hi! We are a predominantly female, mixed group of experienced actors, singers and improvisers with a large age range, and a heavy amount of LGBTQI+ players. Directed by Lee Apsey (CSI impro, Acaprov) and Lisa Lynn (Acaprov, MusicBox) with the magical keys of David Rees; we create split-narrative musicals ‘Leaving no path unsung’.
What is the show that you are bringing to the stage in this Festive season?
We are improvising a split-narrative Panto – So we will take a well known Panto, map it on to a new location, then show you an alternative ending all while improvising the dialogue, songs and movement (which may or may not resemble dance)!
What if Snow White didn’t eat the apple? What if Cinderella didn’t lose her shoe? Etc
Will there be a bit of festivity in your show?
It’s panto, it’s all festive! Costumes and props galore!
What are your favourite things about the festive season and why?
We love the sense of family and community that happens every festive season; everyone keeping the magic, talking of Santa to children; everyone wishing for Snow; and hopefully everyone remembering those less fortunate, and trying to help; which is why we’re donating all proceeds from the panto to help the wonderful work that Shelter does over the Festive period.
This time of year the venues tend to be a bit busier as well – do you find that the audience changes at all?
Venues can actually be less busy, often people are at work Christmas parties, particularly on the weekends, so selling tickets to improv shows, even those that usually sell out, becomes increasingly hard.
Where it IS packed out during the festive season, people tend to drink more, which leads to them being more extreme versions of themselves – be that extremely on board and extremely supportive (cheering, singing along, giving standing ovations) which we LOVE or extremely disruptive – hopefully we don’t have to deal with the latter. Hoopla are tremendously good at generating love from the crowd, with Godesses like Monica Gaga at the helm, we don’t forsee any audience problems. Given its a charity panto aswell, should be nothing but lurve!
What advice would you give for people performing around the festive season – is it important to drop a Christmas related theme into it?
You want to join in the fun of Christmas of course, but it’s also important to stay on brand and deliver a good quality show. We’re lucky, because we’re doing a Panto – that’s Christmas enough just in format/tradition – putting our own Multiverse spin on it is really exciting! Many people don’t celebrate Christmas, some will have never before seen or heard of panto – but if the improv and singing are good, that’s the main thing, joy at Christmas regardless of your faith… and hey…we can always say it snows at the end!
What is the best thing about a night at your show for the audience?
The mind-boggling journey into the Multiverse! It’s so fun to see two endings to the same tale, and reflect on how the tiniest of choices can change your whole life! Also, the cast – with a mix of professional actors, singers and improvisers the quality is HIGH.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
@MultiverseImprov on Insta
@MultiverseImprov on Facebook
What is YOUR favourite show you have done this year and why?
‘Ay up!’ a musical set in Yorkshire from our off west end run at the Camden Peoples Theatre.
It followed a Yorkshire couples relationship through universe A – where one decided to take an American Tourists money to try and earn a better life for her and her wife – which ended in disaster as corporate America ruined Yorkshire. Then universe B where they stayed poor and won the local karaoke competition and nothing much changed but they were completely happy!
It dealt with many serious and topical issues, but was hilarious and completely relatable; it allowed the audience to laugh, cry, then laugh again with us – the dream combo.
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Joyous Alternative Endings
CHRISTMAS QUICK FIRE ROUND
For this years Christmas Quick fire I am going to give you a handful of song titles and film titles related to the season and I want you to tell me the first improv scenario that comes to your brain and what you would do with this suggestion?
Lisa: OK I’m pulling Lee Apsey in to help me, he’s more the brain I’m more the heart
Lonely This Christmas
(Suggestion inspired by this 1974 song)
Lee – One man musical starring Lee Apsey
Lisa – My brain went ‘Dogs home, a lonely puppy and a lonely vet face the holidays alone because
no one wants them’ Universe A the dog runs next door and the vet falls in love with his neighbour, Universe B they decide eachother is enough and the vet quits his job and travels the world with his pup.
(Suggestion inspired by this 2011 song)
Office Party – the two newbies are peer pressured to awkward Kiss under the mistletoe. Universe A they kiss and its awkward AF he puts in for a transfer she becomes joint partner at the firm. Universe B he refuses, she admires him for it, they start their own firm focused on human rights.
One More Sleep
(Suggestion inspired by this 2013 song)
Lee – The Sequel to Inception haha
Lisa – The show starts with a person on tour e death bed, then flashes back to thier life universe A and what if they’d don’t things differently – universe B before they realise they regret nothing, and die on the final chord of the closing song doing Rob Carolina’s signature ‘Death’ song ending.
Walking in the Air
(Suggestion inspired by this 1985 song)
Lee – Christopher Walkin becomes the captain of a airship
Lisa – Circus based – tight-rope duo sisters one wants to leave the circus one wants to stay. Universe A they both leave and go to Vegas, the younger sister is homesick and crying doesn’t catch her sister who dies (dark); universe B they decide to stay, the whole company are called to Vegas to take over Cirque de Soleil after someone dies on stage, the older sister announces she’s pregnant with twins!
The Snowman and The Snowdog
(Suggestion inspired by this 2012 short film)
Lee – Hachi, but it’s a snowmans dog and the snow man’s melted (dark)
A Christmas Prince
(Suggestion inspired by this 2017 film)
Lee – Prince trying to make a Christmas album at Christmas time with hits such as – Kiss… Me under the mistletoe
Lisa – Drag Queens Christmas competition – a love story universe A his wife encourages him to join a drag competition and he wins, universe B he refuses to enter so she enters for him as a drag king and she wins!
Christmas Is All Around
(Suggestion inspired by this song from the 2003 Love Actually)
Lee – a boat stranded at sea, they all argue about how to get home to their families, but then realise they ARE family and Christmas is all around them – plus they’re surrounded by wet wet wet haha
Jingle Bell Rock
(Suggestion inspired by this 1970 song )
Lee – focused on the the sleigh makers or the lonely horse that pulls the sleigh
Lisa – Swing dance competition or Army Christmas boxing match
(Suggestion inspired by this 2011 film)
Lee – ‘Ar thur Christmas sake!’ King Arthur and the knights of the round table at Christmas – you can’t hide it if you’ve not bought anyone present coz there’s corners haha
A Holly Jolly Christmas
(Suggestion inspired by this 1965 song )
Lee – a story set in a Holly Orchard It’s not about having and possessing Christmas it’s about BEING a Holly jolly at Christmas
Lisa – my brain went Holly at weight watchers. Everyone describes her as ‘jolly’ passive aggressively fat shaming her, in universe A she goes in to the WW meeting and meets a girl who convinces her to try burlesque and she becomes a world star ‘Holly Jolly-Christmas’ in universe B she doesn’t go in, she turns around and bumps into the love of her life.
The message being – love yourself, it’s Christmas, eat and wear what makes you feel good! Happiness is always attractive