Director: Adam Meggido
Set Designer: Nigel Hook
Lighting Designer: David Howe
Sound Designer: Andy Johnson
Reviewer: Francesca Parker
In 2008 a young and energetic group of LAMDA students came together to create a production based on the principles of improvised comedy; it was then that Lights! Camera! Improvise! was born. Following a highly successful first season at the Edinburgh Fringe, they returned for another six years and then debuted at The Duchess Theatre in London. Since then the company has gone from strength to strength, winning a number of awards and becoming resident in a long list of West End theatres for their award-winning and sidesplittingly hilarious productions, including The Play That Goes Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong and The Comedy About a Bank Robbery.
Mischief Movie Night began unapologetically, with a series of quick-fire audience interactions. Led by the company director Jonathan Sayer (who is undeniably hilarious), the audience swiftly became responsible for the genre, setting and title of this unique, one-time-only performance. It transpired that on the night of this review, and as a result of the audience participation, a movie entitled Chairs, Stairs and Gorillas was about to play. Set in a garden centre it was, at its heart, a Disney-esque romantic comedy with elements of horror. Unbelievably, the cast and musical accompaniment managed to create, from scratch, a performance that not only logically followed, but included a spontaneous, and in places harmonious, Barbershop Quartet.
The chaos of the plot slowly, but surely, became increasingly comic as the ensemble wryly progressed from beginning to end. Assisted by the director the ensemble was paused, fast-forwarded and rewound to ensure that all plot holes are filled – keeping the audience both entertained and informed. The sparse but cleverly designed set facilitated the cast to manoeuvre freely around the stage. Similarly, basic props were used inventively and to good effect, helping to engage the audience’s imagination in this, and other, far-flung stories. David Howe’s use of light helps to illustrate, for those who in any doubt, the particular emotion being displayed at any one time – the deliberate colour associations help to make it ever more slap-stick in its nature.
It truly is impossible to praise an individual performance – the cast are all equally stupendous. In balancing the sophisticated art of improvised comedy with the silliness needed to evoke raucous laughter, they provide an excellent evening’s entertainment. And the beauty of this show is that no two nights are ever the same. Mischief Movie Night is an undeniable must-see production.
Reviewed on 3 July 2018 | Image: Contributed