Improv Diaries -The Improv Community Spirit [Case Study: Mischief Managed]

This is an article that I have been nervous about writing for a long time – so much so that I wrote an article based on this to be posted two weeks ago and deleted it as was nervous as to how people would react. I feel now is the right time to discuss in brief what I was going to say in depth a few weeks ago. At the moment I personally feel like I am in an improv rut – I love writing about it and enjoy writing this website a lot – but when it comes to performing I feel completely lost at the moment.

I horribly find my love for improv has been dwindling as I am desperate to use music and perform music in my improv but getting the opportunities to do that if you are not a professional singer in London is extremely hard…. not going to write an in depth article as I was going to do that the other week and still don’t feel happy doing that. The long and short of it, I feel lost in the world of performing improv and not sure what way to turn.

This week was my birthday and I decided I would go to Chester for the night before because I have always wanted to visit the zoo. I knew that fellow The Phoenix Remix writer David Escobedo lived there with his wife and he told me he had a show on the Monday night so I decided to go along.

The night is a monthly event in Chester where it is a mix of improv jam and performances by local teams. Right from the get go, I may not of known anyone but they welcomed me with open arms. There was such a community spirit that I know and miss from Newcastle improv scene. It was such a lovely environment to be in.

It was so fun watching brand new improvisers take part in jams and I couldn’t believe only some of them had been performing for 6 weeks they were very good. I really loved watching the enthusiasm, support and most importantly fun that everyone was having on stage. I took part in the jams and it was really good fun taking part in games that had a slight twist to what I was used to. Also supporting new improvisers on stage as well was good fun.

As much as I like the London improv scene it made me realise I miss the community of improv that is more prominent away from the Capital. It is a completely different sort of improv environment and I really like it and to experience for the first time after all this time was really lovely and made me realise why I fell in love with improv in the first place. Whilst I still feel in a very weird place at the moment with improv, I feel that this one night has giving me fire in my steam.

Case Study: Mischief Managed 

One of the things that I was most excited about going to this event in Chester was to see Mischief Managed – I have heard a lot of good thing about this troupe so was intrigued to see them perform live. I have seen other Harry Potter based parodies and improv shows so I wanted to see just what was different about this team and why they stood out.

The suggestion that they pulled out of the hat was about a screaming zookeeper and it ended up being a story about the exotic zoo animal farm at Hogwarts and a story about Trelawney’s evil ex lover trying to kill her with possessed rabbits.

Even though it wasn’t about the key Harry Potter characters it worked so well and I preferred it as it was different to other comedy shows I have seen themed on this icon and it meant they could what they wanted with the characters. Highlights for me was the way that they brought the characters to life, I loved the way that Maggie created the evil character and her snake buddy Duncan was amazing as a snake. I have seen many improvisers be snakes on stage before and I have to say his physical portrayal of one was the best I have seen, it was very entertaining and worked so well.

I really enjoyed seeing Mischief Managed and it was a great show. A special shout out to David and his wife Monica as they are doing so much for the improv community in Chester and it is such a lovely thing to see in the early stages, I can’t wait to see how fast and big their community grows.

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