Skip to main content

Review of The Same Faces - 27th August, 2016 at The Black Prince, Northampton

My one and only other previous experience of live improv was in the hands of the venerable Mischief Theatre team and a performance of Lights! Camera! Improvise! in London in 2015. It was a heck of an evening to see them weave a movie from a mixture of inputs from the audience, and was quite a team for The Same Faces to follow.

Founded by Tom Young, The Same Faces have been performing in Leicester and Northampton for a number of years and have swelled their ranks of performers to allow a huge amount of variety to not only the show but those bringing it to the stage. For my first encounter with the group, the performers I was to see were Tom Young himself who was joined by Dave Gotheridge, Jen Kenny, Thomas Lawrence and Becky Moore and musician David Burton. The format is simple, through a series of games the audience provide key ingredients to allow the performers to bring the stage alive with their impulsive talent. These can vary from the very simple addition of numbers or colours, to specialist subjects, careers or locations.

It is an expected hit and miss, however the talent on stage keeps the evening firmly in the hit department far more often than the other. Often it crashes into the quite superb realms of shear brilliance as that moment of inspiration clicks and we sit in amazement at how an ice cream palour has become an almost perfect venue for a film noir and the stirring adventure, The Maltease Whippy.

Also at the top of the bill is Greatest Hits, which provides like the Mischief show, a scary skill of these improv teams, the way they can form songs before our eyes. Tom Young's reggae takedown of the Daily Express was a particular highlight of the evening, and Jen Kenny manages to provide a scarily catchy number entitled "Look Away Now". Music rears its head later as well in the show to more success in the problem solving bartender scene. By the way of song, the performers tell their problems (provided by the audience) and also in song, the bartender (Jen Kenny) solves them. It works, somehow, more often than not and by the end, performers and audience alike and happily singing along to "Forget The Bruce".

Very occasionally scenes don't work as is the danger of nights like this, and for me a casualty on the night was the Question This round, which didn't gel, but such is improv, next month it could be the best round as the worlds of inspiration collide. One moment that everything perfect did happen was during the Party Quirks round and the handing of the quirk of "only being able to talk in pick up lines" to Thomas Lawrence. It was such a perfect moment, that party host Tom Young abandoned guessing the quirk (the object of the game) for a while to see how long he could go on. It turned out quite a while and provided one of many highlights in the evening.

It is safe to say that it took me a while to finally get to see The Same Faces and after seeing them, this is an obvious mistake on my part. They are a bunch of highly talented performers, who clearly work well together and provide not only an entertaining and funny evening, but also a really friendly environment to boot as well. There are very few ways that you could get as much entertainment for two hours for a fiver than this.

★★★

Performance reviewed: Saturday 27th August, 2016 at the The Black Prince, Northampton

The Same Faces appear monthly at The Black Prince, with their next show on Saturday 24th September, 2016. They also perform a monthly show in Leicester at The Criterion Free House

The Same Faces can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces and on Twitter @TheSameFaces


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Cilla - The Musical at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

I have to start with a confession dear reader, what I know about Cilla Black can pretty much be written on the back of the Derngate ticket that I clutched on entering the theatre (and that allows for the advert on the back). I have heard a couple of her tunes of course (more than once) and confess, once again, that I generally didn't like what I heard. I think it's clear that with her natural raw form and voice, "a diamond in the rough" as Brian Epstein, her eventual manager describes her, she a performer that you either love or generally, not hate as such, but perhaps just dislike. I fall in the latter. Curiously as I a forty-year-old, I also don't even fall into the Cilla of hit television either, being a BBC viewing family, I never saw her on TV much when I was growing up.

So, coming almost totally fresh to the world of Cilla, it was a little comforting that for the first act, much of the world of Cilla - The Musical revolves not just around star building Cil…

Review of Woman In Mind by Masque Theatre at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

I like Alan Ayckbourn, I may only have seen a few of his vast array of plays previously, but all have been a delight, often crazy yes, but constantly funny, and especially in the second act spiralling often into just on the very edge of believable nonsense. With Woman In Mind, acknowledged by many as one of his finest works, my own personal jury is very much out on whether I liked it or not.
What was very good, mostly, however, were the performances, most especially the two that we are introduced to at the very beginning. The prostrate Susan (Nicola Osborne), with sinisterly lurking rake alongside her, and the bag struggling doctor, Bill (John Myhill).
Nicola Osborne has the unenviable task in this play of never leaving the stage, a feat in itself. Add to this the constant weaving of the character's world (more on this later), and you have a role featuring some significant challenge, one that Osborne ably surmounts. I once described Osborne as a "safe pair of hands" in …

Press launch of Sting's The Last Ship at Errol Flynn Filmhouse, Northampton

On Friday 16th February 2018, I attended the official press launch of The Last Ship. In attendance were the writer of the show, Sting, and cast members for the 2018 UK tour Richard Fleeshman, Charlie Hardwick and Joe McGann, with musical support from Rob Mathes.

During the event, opened entertainingly by producer Karl Sydow, Sting and the cast members performed seven of the songs from the show: The Last Ship (Sting), Dead Man's Boots (Sting and Fleeshman), Sail Away (Hardwick), The Night the Pugilist Learned to Dance (Fleeshman), What Say You Meg? (Fleeshman) and What Have You Got? (Sting and cast).

Each of these songs showed us a great background to the evocative tale that The Last Ship tells, of a community under attack as its crucial shipbuilding industry begins to fail. The performers and Sting himself delivered the songs with huge passion, despite, as Sting himself commented, the earnestness of the hour, with the event beginning at 10 am.

The Last Ship was initially inspired …