FOR 33 ½ hours a group of a few dozen actors, directors, crew and volunteers staged one of the largest, most ambitious and hilarious shows I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. As is always the sign of true talent and genius, the entire company worked perfectly as one to make the mammoth task look seamless.
'Back to the Studio', a 33.5 hour-long completely improvised performance set in Studio 33.5, "high on your dial and low on self-esteem", included story lines ranging from a Scottish invasion of England, class- Asterisk drug abuse, and the threat of closure from Ofcom (and Ofsted, apparently); all of which amounted to a weekend of unceasing fun.
The quirky Kazimier venue was ideally suited to a show of this style, giving the performers use of the (ingeniously managed) green-screen, balcony, office area and continuously-changing main space. The use of projection and graphics from Lee Issero frequently were the focus of much of the audience's hysterics, with the witty reactions and remarks feeling naturally entwined with the characters' stories. The main set didn't comprise of much, but it didn't have to, as the actors utilized every single inch of space and every prop available to portray any situation given to them by the ever-inventive direction of Dana Anderson and Paul Foxcroft.
The actors themselves, though sadly far too numerous to mention individually, were all so enthusiastic and unfalteringly energetic that the show, even after a slight slowing around the 24 hours mark, picked right back up and continued with unremitting pace; and each individual performed exceptionally. Audience participation also contributed to the merriment, the unified shouts of 'KROM!', the cheers and the boos all brought together cast and spectators alike, a unique and charming feature to the performance. Particular kudos must go to Angie Waller (Babz LeGarge) who, despite a serious shoulder injury and a broken bottom, went back on stage regardless and made it to the final show.
The live music was wonderfully befitting to the show, and seeing the actors not only improvise what was going on, but then to also adapt this into song at times was an amazing feat to observe. The inspired creation of the snappy 'three line scenes' gave a snapshot of what had gone on and a taste of what was to come; and a 'two-hour-long Family Hour' was a spectacle to behold, as the participants managed to keep it clean, whilst also continuing the hilarity; the 'in-jokes' keeping the adults amused and the slapstick comedy entertaining the younger audience members in particular.
I must personally express gratitude the entire cast and crew, as their spontaneous and inspiring performances, coupled with the unpredictable situations in which they found themselves, really were what made the 33.5 hours not just enjoyable, but truly astounding. Should you ever get the opportunity to see an 'Improvathon', or any work by Impropriety for that matter, you would be simply foolish to miss it.
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