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 The Railway Children at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

This touring production of the very classic E. Nesbit tale The Railway Children adapted by Dave Simpson and directed by Paul Jepson delivers perhaps everything that someone familiar with the original tale would desire.

Yes, in this modern age we are treated to the more flashy projection images which while a little unexciting at times (and occasionally diluted in clarity by the other stage lights) provide a pleasing background nonetheless.

This production of The Railway Children though is still very much of its time, nothing exciting really happens, other than some petticots being removed infront of a train, that we of course know is going to stop, even if we don't know the story. It's all very safe, and perhaps that is why it appears the modern audience has less interest in it judging by the shockingly small audience on opening night.

However, those not there are missing out on just a really lovely piece of gentle theatre, that while not without its faults, holds the interest…

Review of Rules For Living at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

It is possibly a rule in life for a few in the audience for the opening night of Sam Holcroft's domestic comedy Rules For Living not to mention Christmas until December. Therefore anyone of such a persuasion might have been a little perturbed to be presented on the 13th September with, an undeniably brilliantly dressed, homely Christmas scene.

Opening up in glorious dollhouse style and on a gorgeous little hinge, this little home of living room and kitchen sets the scene for a typical family Christmas. Mother Edith (Jane Booker) welcomes her sons, Matthew (Jolyon Coy) and Adam (Ed Hughes) and their respective partners, Carrie (Carlyss Peer) and Nicole (Laura Rogers) And with a final dramatic arrival of father Francis (Paul Shelley), the scene is very much set for comic antics of the highest calibre.

The first thing you get from Rules For Living in the first few minutes is the arrival of one of the most brilliant, yet simple concepts I have seen for a while in the play. These are …

Review of Make Way For Lucia by John Van Druten at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

There have been a couple of television versions of the Mapp & Lucia novels by E. F. Benson over the years and irrespective of which generation version you might have seen, the roles of Miss Mapp and Mrs. Lucas were filled with some heavyweight performers. So taking on these roles could, in theory, be a challenge too much to live up to. However, that would be if the characters themselves were less the sum of the performer. These are great characters on paper as well as on stage and therefore Gena McCrystal (Miss Mapp) and Juliet O'Connor (Lucia) make them very much their own in the stage adaption by John Van Druten.

Lucia has arrived and breezed both into the town of Tilling and the musical chair roundabout of house rental that is want to occur here. Her rented property is Miss Mapp's and for some reason, Mapp fails to follow the routine of keeping away, constantly "popping in", so the battle lines are drawn.
Make Way for Lucia is the typical battle of supremacy i…