This month we are celebrating comedy and the act at the forefront is improv act Swipe Right. This year they were meant to be performing their very first Camden Fringe as well as holding their annual Summer Fling extravaganza but due to the pandemic that has been put on hold. So to make up for not being able to perform we decided to interview them to find out all about the act! So we have a huge interview with the troupe going out this month! Today we talk about summer shows, the best shows and the worst!
Tell us about some unusual suggestions that you have had?
What I find interesting is when the wheel of emotion gives you the same emotion twice, and how you can have a completely different show off the back of that. For a long time we didn’t use an audience suggestion at all; when we started we used to began and ended shows with randomly selected bit of music. I think that may have been partly because we didn’t want to deal with the audience, we just wanted to go up and do the improv and then leave the stage. That sounds ridiculous looking back on it, but you don’t take a class in talking to the audience.
How do you rehearse a format such as your own?
There’s much more of a structure to the current show than the ones we’ve done before, I think partly because we hadn’t done a one-hour show before so wanted something to cling onto, if that makes sense. Altough the first time we performed it, at Impro Fest was, strangely, one of the easiest gigs of my life.
What is YOUR favourite Swipe Right sets you have done this year and why?
ImproFest. Also, playing at Phoenix Remix Live was great fun but it was a packed night and so full of things happening. There were only two of us playing that night too (Rosie and Robin) and it’s always interesting having different configurations of people.
What is the best thing about being in Swipe Right?
The fact that we all like each other and enjoy spending time together, on stage and off.
What is the most challenging?
I can’t think of anything outside the occasional admin challenges of finding rehearsal space, thinking about how best to promote shows; that’s the work side, of it, really. Everything that happens in the rehearsal room and on stage doesn’t feel like work, although it can be artistically challenging. But then that’s the point of doing it.
What have been some of your specifically favourite scenes you have created so far in a show and why?
Robin: Okay, this is just what came into my head so I’m not going to pretend that it’s scientific. But I think it was when I was hiding under a chair on stage (I miss doing stupid stuff with chairs) and Andy came out and set up that I was Noel Edmonds playing hide and seek; and it was just such a lot of high-energy ridiculous fun to play.
We also went through a run of shows in which I played a bird who refused to speak, and there was this one scene where we all left Carly on her own on stage and just got more and more delighted at how brilliantly she handled it. But, apart from that, I would say any moment when you follow an instinct that feels daring and then get a moment of silence from the audience that feels like a loaded silence. Like everyone’s just breathed in and they’re not quite sure when to breathe out. That’s cool; I don’t know how much of that is real, though, because I’m not in the audience’s head. But thinking about it feels good, so there it is.
What have been the worst?
Robin: I remember an early gig when I decided that I’d learned the key to improv was to simply narrate what I was doing the whole time (‘I’m going to pick up this glass and have a drink. Ooh is that the door, I think I’ll answer it’) because then I’d never run out of words. Honestly, I remember thinking that for a good few days. What an idiot.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given about improv and why?
Hold on tightly, let go lightly. I think it just encompasses everything.
You also usually hold a Summer Fling show annually as well – tell us about that?
Oh, Summer Fling. It’s very audience focused, there’s a music quiz with a lot of prizes and so forth, we really put a lot of effort into the decoration and the structure of the night, who to invite to perform, music playlists, inflatabale palm trees etc; as a night it’s usually mostly improv but there’s sometimes stand-up and we’ve had character acts before, too. We absolutely love puttting it on and the audiences have been terrific over the three or so years we’ve done it.
With everything that has happened this year will it return in any shape or form?
I don’t really see the point of trying to do that show it online – if you’re going to do an online show I think it should be tailored towards that. So our current focus would be Winter Wonderland I guess, which we normally throw in December and which is a pretty similar, just cosier. We were also going to start a regular night at the Calder in June, so that’s been put back to whenever we can do it.