ComedyLondonReview

Choose Your Own – Hoopla Improv Theatre at The Miller, London

Reviewer: Miriam Sallon

Creators: The Banana Hut Gang

On the way out of the theatre, two Banana Hut Gang members are overheard saying, “Even for us, that was f*cking batsh*t”.

The premise, set by tonight’s host and narrator, is that a new movie idea is required for a big film director, and the audience is employed to help write it. They are first asked to pick a genre (split between stone-age and thriller, they end up somewhere in the middle), a name for the film’s hero (Boqueequee), a particularly bizarre characteristic (he talks to dinosaurs) and a title (Barney and Me). But given that each night is an entirely new show, you don’t really need to know that.

For the rest of the evening, as the Gang works tirelessly to perform to the audience’s ludicrous demands, they are incrementally paused, and the audience is asked to vote on a choice: Should Boqueequee quit his job and go find some dinosaurs, or should he beg to stay? Should Boqueequee take a shower, or should he chat to Liz Truss? Should Boqueequee help Liz Truss in the war of the cats, or should he stay loyal to the dinosaurs? All important decisions, each undertaken by a cruel, laughing audience, intent on making this story as ridiculous as possible. It should go without saying, they succeed, and then some.

As is improv tradition, the actors have nothing on stage but their wits, jumping in to help or, just as often, hinder a fellow actor’s performance, all in the honourable pursuit of absurdity. This reviewer isn’t an especially huge fan of improv, and yet it was impossible not to hoot and cackle throughout.

At just under an hour, the Gang does well to neatly tie up all the loose ends before the nonsense starts wearing thin, so it’s perfect for a little post-work entertainment, still with plenty of time for a couple of pints in the beer garden after.

This was the Banana Hut Gang’s final performance before heading to Edinburgh, so if you’re planning to get your Fringe on at all this month and fancy a good dose of the ridiculous, check them out. Thereafter you can catch them at their semi-permanent residence in London Bridge.

Reviewed on 10 August 2022 and at Edinburgh Fringe August 15-20 and 22-27

The Reviews Hub Score

Batshit

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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