Week 0 had just begun and for this grad who has been stuck in the library since the day after boxing day (pity party appreciated), the chance to go and see some improv was a welcome distraction from the looming return of term.
All The Things You Have Ever Lost is a brief adventure into the world of a Lost Property Department. The energetic cast take us on a tour round some of the stranger sights of the back rooms, presenting different objects and recreating the stories behind them. Before the show begins, you are asked to write down a few things that you yourself have happened to lose: hair pins, wallet, glasses, virginities. These become prompts for the cast as the performance goes on.
Stories range from the real to the mythical: a pair of flippers used on a romantic health break to Brighton (in February) tell the tale of a couple in a dangerous competition to out-do each other’s acts of love, a set of voice controllers represent a captain’s desperate attempt to negotiate a place to land with a ‘ground control’ obsessed with David Bowie, and a pair of cages hark back to the story of an aspirational Lion with resting-sarcastic face who’s having a secret affair with a unicorn in attempt to recreate the heraldic glory of its species.
Some of the sketches were so smooth, it was easy to forget that the cast were improvising and not acting a scripted performance. There was a good team spirit that meant the production flowed remarkably well and switched between scenes at a good pace. On occasion, it was fun to see the whole cast get behind some of the stories and watch a short piece turn into a longer drama with scenes and plot development. A special mention must go to the lights and sounds team (Catherine Hodges) who’s control of the music helped with the seamless illusion of smooth transitions.
All the cast were equally funny. The best part of this kind of theatre is that it enables talented cast to show their best qualities from their quick thinking to their imaginative ability to reconstruct objects with hand gestures. Each of the cast shone in this respect.
Though some of the sketches were rather more miss than hit, the piece on the whole is memorable for its bigger hitters and certainly worth a watch. Watching such a play may have the added benefit of helping you remember where you may find your lost things.
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