Last night, the Cambridge Impronauts treated us to their rendition of the allegorical tale of the gangsters of Westminster and their violent political machinations.
Not Westminster, London of course, but Westminster in the town we call “Seedy Brian”, set in 1920s or 30s or 40s America (the date changed drastically as the show went on). Driven by audience suggestions, this was an ornithologically rich show featuring ducks and chickens of both their real and clockwork varieties. The show was a learning experience also, which explored the economics of corn mazes and produced such spontaneous truisms as “men are like eggs: scientists debate whether they’re good for you”. However, this being an improv show, do expect a very different experience on any of the next three nights.
As usual, the Impronauts showcased their characteristic fluid wit and quick-thinking comedy.
The stand-out performances were given by Tally Levy, who created a cohesive character despite being fairly new to the group; Damian Smith, whose on-the-spot ingenuity was a driving force in the plot, and Aiden Pittman, who created by far the most memorable character. Improvised music was provided by Robbie Smith who had a few good comedy moments of his own.
I am a big fan of the Impronauts so this is the fourth of their shows I’ve seen now and, unfortunately, the three others I watched were all funnier. There was an unfortunate hesitance detectable throughout the show and the use of music and lighting was less creative than I had seen from this group previously.
In the past, the Impronauts have explored different prompt techniques in their shows such as the audience choosing the killer in “Improv on the Orient Express” or the costume changes in “The Once and Improvised King”. This show uses the classic trope of picking suggestions out of a hat which was less inventive than the group’s previous methods. The interaction between the music, lights and performers was also more pronounced in previous Impronauts shows; in “Improv on the Orient Express”, for example, music and lighting cues forced performers into often hilarious flashbacks. In this show, however, the music and lighting took something of a back seat rather than helping to drive the comedy.
One could excuse some of the low-energy moments by noting that the Impronauts have members with a range of levels of experience with those very new to the group performing alongside long-time improvisers; however, there wasn’t an obvious correlation between how funny the performers were and their comedic experience.
Despite this particular critique, I will likely always recommend the Impronauts for a fun and enjoyable evening which they have never failed to deliver. You’ll likely watch a very different show to me but I’m sure it will only get better as the run continues.