An Imp-Revised History of the World

Thu 17th – Sat 26th August 2017

reviews

Katrina Gaffney

at 23:37 on 23rd Aug 2017

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History is a good source of comedic inspiration and 'An Imp-revised History of the World' makes full use of it. This improvisation show based around the audience’s historical suggestions provided some pretty good entertainment and was a display of the cast’s comedic skills.

The structure of the show was centred around several different improvisation games - most of which I had seen used before. In this regard the show didn’t feel particularly original, nevertheless, it was still amusing. From watching Theresa May trying to guess the position of her ministers to David Hasselhoff’s reaction to the fall of the Berlin wall, the audience kept being surprised. That’s the beauty of improvising - it rarely makes for a boring show.

The cast bounced off each other well and I was impressed with their chemistry and energy. Smoky Monkeys are exactly what an improv group should be. They also had a good, playful rapport with the audience - especially Charles Dundas who opened the show. He asked the audience about the historical figures they would like to meet and got an interesting range of responses from dinosaurs to Billy Connolly; Dundas met these responses with some gentle comedy, making the audience feel like they were in safe hands.

Despite studying history for my degree there were still certain references in the show I didn’t understand - I still don’t really know who Stan Laurel is. But then with improvisation of this nature, you run the risk that some audience members might not always quite get the joke. It didn’t have a significant impact on my enjoyment of the show, it just lead me to wish I had been a more vocal audience member with my own suggestions.

The climax of the show - a musical number about the invention of sliced bread was definitely my favourite part. The inclusion of music to the improvisation added another element to the show and it brightened up the production. There was something quite wholesome and silly about the sliced bread musical and that is part of the reason I enjoyed it so much.

Not every joke in this show was a roaring success, there were times when I felt randomness was being used as a substitute for comedy. However, on the whole I was reasonably happy - there were a couple of moments that really put a smile on my face and all in all I must say I was entertained.

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