REVIEW: When You Improv On A Star-An Improvised Disney Musical

The Cambridge Impronauts have produced an Exam Term crowd-pleaser, says Joseph Spencer.

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Already Cambridge’s libraries are chock-a-bloc with stressed, frenzied, workers.

I only have to look at the furrowed brows and listen to the frenetic typing to become, myself, worried and stressed. An evening at the theatre is a natural cure for such an ailment. You could say that I approached this evening with the Impronauts expecting to be amused, expecting to be relaxed, and lazily hoping that I, a humble audience member, wouldn’t be expected by the Improv artists to be myself on sparkling and witty form.

That said, I must admit to entering the Corpus Playroom with a few nerves in my stomach. I was worried the Improv would fall flat, that there would be awkward silences where I cringed at the fluster and instincts of the comedians on stage.

I needn’t have feared. This was a thoroughly enjoyable hour and ten minutes.

Alex O’Bryan-Tear’s opening interaction with the audience was, without doubt, one of the funniest sequences, and he played off the audience’s best attempts to throw him off his stride with panache and an admirable sense of comic timing and putdown. Of course, this being Improv, the setting will change from evening to evening but on this opening night the magical setting that was developed was a mountain range with an uncountable number of mountains, called ‘The Three Mountains’.

This paradox was played off extremely well by James Gard, who among other things played a highly amusing discalculiac scientist with a mouse (Riley Smith) as a research assistant. Gard was also remarkable in a scene in which acted as a mirror for Dwarf King Joel Lipson.

The fairytale that developed was admittedly tenuously linked to Disney, but it was clever and amusing improvisation (‘I just don’t understand how they do it’ were the words of my theatre buddy as we walked back to college) and it was most certainly a musical. The songs were frequent, they were punchy, they were catchy, and they were witty. Hats off to the pianist for playing a soundtrack nearly the whole way through the performance.

If I had but one small criticism it is one that feels almost prudish to mention given it was improvised comedy, and, by its nature, it will be different on each of the nights. In the interests of a fair-minded review, I will say that the ending seemed to be slightly dragged out, in that we got to what I assumed to be the final, dramatic confrontation quite a while before the performance actually ended. I guess fairy-tales take time to wrap up.

If you fancy seeing some comedy of a different nature to the usual Cambridge fare then get yourself down to Corpus at 9.30 this week.

4/5 Stars