If you are in Cambridge this weekend then you are in for a treat as the Cambridge Impronauts return to the Cambridge Fringe Comedy Festival with their show QuickFire Head2Head. The troupe are at the Blue Moon this Saturday (23rd April) from 6pm. I spoke to Barney to find out all about what they have in store.
Hello Cambridge Impronauts – how are you feeling about doing your show at Cambridge Festival?
Hello Phoenix! It’s incredibly exciting- we’ve done other fringes and festivals in the past but to take part in one on our own home soil has a real comfort and sense of being part of the thriving comedy circuit here in Cambridge.
Tell us a bit about the festival and shows your team has done in the past
Well before the redacted years of 2020-2021 we took part in the Edinburgh Fringe, bringing some of our big shows like Improv Actually (a parody of romantic comedies believe it or not) back in 2019. More recently we have done a show on reality TV (Keeping up with the Kimprov) and on ghost stories (Improltergeist) at the ADC Theatre here in Cambridge. These longer form shows take on a consistent narrative throughout with character arcs and everything, whilst our shorter form shows such as Quickfire are lots of fun improv comedy games for the benefit of our audience.
Tell us about your show QuickFire Head2Head?
Well this is a very fancy show indeed- a kind of Improv Olympics (the actual term might be theatre sports). I will be hosting 2 teams of improvisers as they perform silly games and improvised scenes competitively, trying to win the approval of our audience.
So in a way the audience will have even more power over us- as well as providing us with prompts to guide where our games take us, they will be able to choose who wins and who loses!
Tell us a little bit about your shows style of improv?
That’s a tricky question to answer actually because each of our improvisers have different styles and approaches. We have people with dryer, more deadpan deliver, those who like to get a bit meta and break that fourth wall, and surrealists who thrive on pretending to be a shoe insert with strong opinions on Marmite on stage. The wonderful thing about being in the Impronauts is that all of them are brought together to create a delicious cocktail of comedy flavours!
What other acts are you looking forward to?
I’ve got my eye on a couple: big fan of Isy Suttie from her sitcoms and radio show, so really want to see her at the Junction. Also Andy Bucks is a local guy (and footlight) who has an excellent show Night Owl on as well so I’ll have to catch him too.
What have been some of your favourite improv shows you have been a part of to date and why?
I used to host the Quickfire shows we’ve done at Cambridge’s ADC Theatre bar this last year, and I think I’ll have to pick them. I don’t do a lot of performing at them myself (apart from chatting with the crowd to get prompts) but I love seeing all our other improvisers killing it on the stage. The energy at those shows is immense too, the audience and everyone on stage seem to bloody love it and that charges me up (energy metaphor intended).
What is the best bit of advice you have ever been given about Improv and why?
My favourite Improv tip is: “Always try and make the other person/people on stage look good”. If you do this then everyone will want to play with you, and the audience will love what is happening on stage because it will look so smooth. That chemistry on stage is what Improv is all about, and the way to do that is to be as supportive as possible!
What are the things you are looking forward to most about the Cambridge Fringe Comedy Festival?
I’m really looking forward to people talking about it! I think the fringe here has gotten bigger each year (excluding REDACTED years) and I’m very excited for it to grow into the global phenomenon these comedians deserve.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
I find if you go to a social media site (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and type in “Impronauts”, you tend to find us. We have a rather unique name I guess. Oh we also have a YouTube channel where you can watch prior recordings of shows!
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Control our fate!
(Also: Because it’s free!)