"A Soap-Opera Like No Other"
by Patrick Cunningham for remotegoat on 29/03/12

Once more I was privileged enough to be in the audience for a show of Liverpool's own comedy improvisation troop, 'Impropriety'. 'The Tragical Past and Mysterious Present of Sodem Hall' is a completely improvised soap opera of 6 two-hour-long episodes every Tuesday evening, which consists of several characters, all in some way linked, embroiling themselves further and further into scandal.


The venue for the evening of jollity was the 'Kazimier', a tucked away but very quirky little space that lends itself wonderfully to such an event, especially arranged in the format it was; which it gave a more relaxed feel to the evening that is vital for comedy.
Several strong performances, with the entertaining visions for scenes appearing from the air, were supported with excellently sourced costumes and set dressings -from the outset; you knew you were now in Victorian England, no doubts about that. However, I can't help but feel that the Victorian setting occasionally limited the possibilities of where the show was able to go - the concept was at times slightly restrictive in what could come next. The set too was perfectly in theme, but parts were so clunky that re-arrangement to create a new location seemed challenging if not impossible.


The sheer concept of such an event is somewhat dumbfounding and shouldn't be underestimated. It is exhilarating to watch, and also for the actors who, as well as finding out what they're to do next at the same time as the audience, have then to completely create the scene. And, more often than not, a song or two to go along with it. The lack of security that comes with knowing that someone, somewhere knows the lines of the script really means the actors are on the precipice of genius or disaster at all times - and this heightened state frequently leads to some of the most bizarre situations and hilarious outcomes you'll find on stage.
The stimulating scenes of slight silliness were welcomed, with scenes occurring in places like the "room of many interruptions" or the "room of alliteration" which, again, threw the actors into that area of unpredictability that gives improvisation its charm.


The plots were pure genius at times, and seemed to magically culminate in several powerful cliff-hangers at the end of the night - moments so tense and suspense-filled that attendance next week is guaranteed.
Even if you were unfortunate enough to miss this week's episode, I urge you to join me next week in what promises to be a night of merriment and intrigue; come and see what happens behind the closed doors of City Town.

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