A long time – or about four days – ago, in a theatre just off Wellington Circus, a reviewer set forth to see an evening of Star Wars improv, despite never having seen a single film (more of a Trekker, to be honest).
Before the main event, there was a chance for newbies to get a taste what improv’s all about. Most of my improv experience consists of watching the fast paced Whose Line Is It Anyway on late-night channel 4, so here was a chance to see some longer-form improv. With the aid of just their wit, two chairs, and a single word elicited from an audience member (‘thrush’ in this case – the bird, not the yeasty devil) the two male performers created characters and a set-up that allowed them to explore some interesting family dynamics and subtext, as well as a few digs at Coors Light. There were a few slow spots, as you might expect, but the scene was given room to breathe and the humour came organically.
After the interval, it was time to wallow in geekiness with some Star Wars. Picking from a fistful of audience suggestions, one actor drew out the title of tonight’s performance and with only a brief look of bemusement he announced The Erotic Confessions of Bib Fortuna (and really, I’m sure he’s seen worse over the years… there not one improv audience around that can resist trying to shock the performers, is there?).
With the impending explosion of Alderaan as the frame for the story, the actors developed a series of interconnected vignettes: two guards aboard the Death Star killing time by visiting clothing-slash-food shops; a publisher trying to sell an erotic novel about a horny Twilek to pay off his debt to ‘Bobba’ the Hutt; the adventures of a Bambi-loving mercenary; and a former fanfiction writer flogging terrible ghost-written books, in a lampooning of EL James and her obsession with the colour grey. The cast threw out geeky references with aplomb and charmed the audience through their enthusiasm and humour, mixing sharp comments with broad physical comedy. As everyone who goes straight for the extras on DVDs knows, the bloopers are often the best bits, and it’s when the performers gamely react to a flubbed prompt or a particularly surprising line that they really shine.
At the end of the show Miss Imp had done their job - I left eager to experience more improv, and perhaps even try it myself one day. On the Star Wars front, however, I remain unconvinced.
Miss Imp Presents... was at Neville Studio at Nottingham Playhouse on Saturday 24 June 2017.