Author Archives: midlandsimprov

MidlandsImprov.com: GIG GUIDE: APRIL 2018

21 shows this month across the Midlands, covering  BirminghamCoventry

NottinghamLeicester & Northampton.

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BIRMINGHAM

TUES 3RD – PATRICK KAVANAGH

The Documentary:  Showcase from the latest graduates of the Fat Penguin improv course.  A chance to see Birmingham’s newest comedy performers for the first time.

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

SUN 8TH – THE GLEE CLUB

Box Of Frogs: High energy comedy sketches from Birmingham’s premier improv troupe.  Part of “Rough Works” night.

https://www.facebook.com/BoxofFrogsImpro/

WEDS 11TH – OLD JOINT STOCK 

LoveHard:  “Tales from the Elsewhere” provides a mix of scripted and improvised humour from this comedy double act.  

https://www.facebook.com/lovehardcomedy

THURS 12TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with stand up comedian Karl Adams.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

THURS 12TH/FRI 13TH – THE GLEE CLUB

The Noise Next Door:  Ten time sell-out veterans of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a showcase of lightning-quick wit and totally original comedic talents. 

http://thenoisenextdoor.co.uk/

FRI 13TH/SAT 14TH – AE HARRIS

What The Dickens:  The World of Charles Dickens has never been more interactive and inviting than in this fast-moving, comedy romp.  

https://www.facebook.com/foghornunscripted/

MON 16TH – BLUE ORANGE THEATRE

Box Of Frogs: Monthly show in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter with all your favourite improv games.  Absolutely free – ‘laugh, or your money back!’

https://www.facebook.com/BoxofFrogsImpro/

WEDS 18TH – CHERRY REDS

Freewheelers:  Come and enjoy another packed show of experimental improv form the Midlands and beyond.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Freewheelersimprov/

WEDS 18TH – THE VICTORIA

The Kneejerks: A night of comedy and theatre, featuring sketches and scenes and all completely free.  

https://www.facebook.com/thekneejerksUK/

THURS 19TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with stand up comedian Liam Jeavons.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

FRI 20TH – CAFE OIKOS

Box Of Frogs: One off show in Erdington featuring all of your favourite improv games.  Part of the “Cafe Arts” event.

https://www.facebook.com/BoxofFrogsImpro/

THURS 26TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with guest performer Av Singh.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

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COVENTRY

FRI 13TH – ESQUIRES COFFEE

Coventry Improv:  A free family friendly evening of improvised sketches and games.

https://www.facebook.com/Coventry-Improv-1572680139447632/

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NOTTINGHAM

THURS 12TH – THE MALT CROSS

Gorilla Burger:  Theatre karaoke where you can be the star.  Or you can just sit back and enjoy an evening of unplanned, uncensored improv comedy.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

MON 16TH – BUNKERS HILL

NICE JAM:  The Nottingham Improv Comedy Experience host a night of fun and games, including a chance for audience members to perform.

https://www.facebook.com/improvnottingham/

WEDS 25TH – THE ANGEL MICROBREWERY

Smash Night: Multiple acts spontaneously turn suggestions into scenes and stories bound to be breath-taking and bloody hilarious.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

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LEICESTER

SAT 7TH – CRITERION FREE HOUSE

The Same Faces: Brilliant comedy sketches live on stage, in the style of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”.  Special party to celebrate the group’s 5th birthday.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

MON 16TH – UPSTAIRS AT THE WESTERN

The Same Faces: “Uncle Armando” show where the group perform scenes inspired by comedian Troy Hawke.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

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NORTHAMPTON

FRI 27TH – THE BLACK PRINCE 

The Same Faces:  Monthly Northampton show, taking ideas from you to make brilliant comedy sketches live on stage.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

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Have I missed a show?  Get in touch and let me know.

facebook.com/midlandsimprov/                                    @MidlandsImprov

MidlandsImprov.com: GIG GUIDE: MARCH 2018

17 shows this month across the Midlands, covering  BirminghamCoventry

NottinghamLeicester & Northampton.

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BIRMINGHAM & THE BLACK COUNTRY

FRI 2ND – THE STATION 

LoveHard:  A mix of scripted and improvised humour from this comedy double act.  Part of “Off The Rails” night in Kings Heath.

https://www.facebook.com/lovehardcomedy

THURS 8TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  Show featuring the house team Bunkum Factory and special guest Horatio Gould.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

THURS 8TH – BRIERLY HILL CIVIC HALL

Knightmare Live: Enter stranger.  Multiple dungeoneers enter Lord Fear’s catacombs.  Each show is different, each room a new challenge.

http://www.knightmarelive.com/

WEDS 14TH – CHERRY REDS

Freewheelers:  Experimental theatre from local acts including double act SquidHeart and musical group Off Broad Street.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Freewheelersimprov/

THURS 15TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with stand up comedian Chris James.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

MON 19TH – BLUE ORANGE THEATRE

Box Of Frogs: Monthly show in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter with all your favourite improv games.  Absolutely free – ‘laugh, or your money back!’

https://www.facebook.com/BoxofFrogsImpro/

WEDS 21ST – THE VICTORIA

The Kneejerks: A night of comedy and theatre, featuring sketches and scenes and all completely free.  

https://www.facebook.com/thekneejerksUK/

THURS 22ND – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with stand up comedian Ben Hanlin.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

THURS 29TH– THE VICTORIA

Jumprov:  Comedy, games, music & entertainment from the UK’s first diverse improv group.  Go for the laughs, stay for the after party.

https://www.facebook.com/Jumprov/

THURS 29TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with guest performers The Improlectuals.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

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COVENTRY

FRI 2ND – WARWICK ARTS CENTRE

The Improv Musical:  More instant songs following the success of their sell-out performances in Warwick & the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

https://www.facebook.com/theimprovmusical/

FRI 9TH – ESQUIRES COFFEE

Coventry Improv:  A free family friendly evening of improvised sketches and games.

https://www.facebook.com/Coventry-Improv-1572680139447632/

THURS 29TH – TWISTED BARREL BREWERY

Coventry Improv:  An evening of improvised humour from Coventry’s premier improv group

https://www.facebook.com/Coventry-Improv-1572680139447632/

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NOTTINGHAM

THURS 8TH – THE MALT CROSS

Gorilla Burger:  Theatre karaoke where you can be the star.  Or you can just sit back and enjoy an evening of unplanned, uncensored improv comedy.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

WEDS 28TH – THE ANGEL MICROBREWERY

Smash Night: Multiple acts spontaneously turn suggestions into scenes and stories bound to be breath-taking and bloody hilarious.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

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LEICESTER

MON 19TH – UPSTAIRS AT THE WESTERN

The Same Faces: “Uncle Armando” show where the group perform scenes inspired by comedian Naz Osmanoglu.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

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NORTHAMPTON

FRI 30TH – THE BLACK PRINCE 

The Same Faces:  Monthly Northampton show, taking ideas from you to make brilliant comedy sketches live on stage.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

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Have I missed a show?  Get in touch and let me know.

facebook.com/midlandsimprov/                                    @MidlandsImprov

MidlandsImprov.com: REVIEW: BETWEEN US

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“Between Us” is a one act play following the ups and downs of a single relationship.  Created by Rachel Thorn & Alex Keen, it is as different from the cliched view of improv as you can imagine.  Sad.  Touching.  Beautiful.

At the start of the show, the two performers ask us to describe an Alex or Rachel we know in real life, and this plants a seed for what follows.  In this performance the suggestion led to Alex having a Greek father obsessed with Alexander The Great.  In turn it was revealed that the father had died when Alex was just 9 years old, a subject that Alex had only ever discussed with Rachel and his therapist.  In contrast, Rachel was still living at the family home as her mother’s multiple illnesses meant she couldn’t be left alone for too long.

Rachel’s mother became the central point of tension for the couple as their romantic relationship progressed.  Rachel realised the gap between wanting to look after her mother and having to look after her, almost envious at times of Alex’s freedom in this regard.  Alex enjoyed the mother’s company but found home life very restrictive in that environment, making everyone old before their time and infringing on the relationship he had with the woman he loved.  And so we reached an impasse.  Rachel couldn’t move in with Alex as that would mean abandoning her responsibilities.  And Alex couldn’t move in with Rachel as he didn’t want to end up as another carer for the mother.  And so we saw the couple fall apart due to circumstance, with neither side the villain but unable to find a way to live in love together.

This story was told in a realistic, natural way.  Nothing felt forced or unexplained, a complaint I often have with theatre, TV and film.  Instead, the things the characters said and did rang true.  And that’s all down to the skill and honesty of Rachel Thorn & Alex Keen, who were showing something of themselves as they created the show.  We just got to see how these two people reacted to the things life throws at us.  I was reminded of the time spent looking after my ill father and how that affected other aspects of my life.  It felt a little bit like my story too.  And as everybody has some hard times, as everybody has relationships that just don’t work out, this felt like a story for us all.

 

Between Us can be seen at multiple venues across the Midlands and North of England.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/betweenusimprov/

MidlandsImprov.com: AUDIENCE REVIEWS: RHYMES AGAINST HUMANITY

Rhymes Against Humanity Dance

Here’s what people have been saying about the musical group from Nottingham.

Weekend Notes

  • High on imagination, performance and delivery
  • So many characters, plot lines, songs and even dance routines
  • Expert in using the cliches of musical theatre to drive the story forward

https://www.weekendnotes.co.uk/birmingham-improv-festivas/

Behind The Arras

  • Stole the show
  • Hilarious action
  • Sensational

http://www.behindthearras.com/Reviewspr/2017/reviewPROOctDec2017/improv-festival-review-BO10-17.html

Twitter

  • A great performance
  • Belting show
  • Very good indeed
  • Tour de force
  • Absolutely fantastic

MidlandsImprov.com: GIG GUIDE: FEBRUARY 2018

51 shows this month in BirminghamCoventryNottinghamLeicester & Northampton.

Spontaneous Sherlock

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BIRMINGHAM

FRI 2ND – THE VICTORIA

On Wings:  Do you like stand-up? Improv? Sketches?  Love Stories?  This has all four.

https://www.facebook.com/happenchancetheatre/

SAT 3RD/SUN 4TH – THE OLD JOINT STOCK

The MMORPG Show:  Improvised comedy plus tabletop gaming combines to create adventure and absurdity.

https://www.facebook.com/mmorpgshow/

WEDS 7TH – CHERRY REDS

Freewheelers:  Experimental theatre from musical group Baron Sternlook and Sheffield duo Between Us.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Freewheelersimprov/

THURS 8TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  Show featuring the house team Bunkum Factory and special guest Mickey Sharma.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

THURS 15TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with stand up comedian Alex Black.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

MON 19TH – BLUE ORANGE THEATRE

Box Of Frogs: Monthly show in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter with all your favourite improv games.  Absolutely free – ‘laugh, or your money back!’

https://www.facebook.com/BoxofFrogsImpro/

WEDS 21ST – THE VICTORIA

The Kneejerks: A night of comedy and theatre, featuring sketches and scenes and all completely free.  

https://www.facebook.com/thekneejerksUK/

THURS 22ND – ORT CAFE

Yes And, Minister:  The general election comedy show, where the audience votes for policies and sees how they impact future Britain.  Part of “What A Nice Night”.

https://www.facebook.com/YesAndMinister/

THURS 22ND – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with stand up comedian Mark Vigil.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

FRI 23RD – ROSIES

Jumprov:  Comedy, games, music & entertainment from the UK’s first diverse improv group.  Part of “That Friday Feeling”.  

https://www.facebook.com/Jumprov/

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COVENTRY

FRI 9TH – ESQUIRES COFFEE

Coventry Improv:  A free family friendly evening of improvised sketches and games.

https://www.facebook.com/Coventry-Improv-1572680139447632/

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NOTTINGHAM

THURS 1ST/FRI 2ND – NOTTINGHAM NEW THEATRE

And Another Thing!:  What do you always wish you had told somebody? An entire one-act play created each night by the University Of Nottingham Improv Society.

https://www.facebook.com/UoNImprov/

SAT 3RD – NOTTINGHAM PLAYHOUSE

Consenting Partners:  The UK’s longest running two-person improvised show.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

MON 5TH/TUES 6TH – NOTTINGHAM NEW THEATRE

Wishful Thinking:  Actors, writers & directors combine to supply a pantomime with no script.  All profits donated to CoppaFeel.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2060176970666766/

THURS 8TH – THE MALT CROSS

Gorilla Burger:  Theatre karaoke where you can be the star.  Or you can just sit back and enjoy an evening of unplanned, uncensored improv comedy.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

FRI 23RD – NATIONAL JUSTICE MUSEUM

Order!:  See performers put on trial for your misdeeds, with the audience deciding the punishment for the crime.  Part of Light Night.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

WEDS 28TH – THE ANGEL MICROBREWERY

Smash Night: Multiple acts spontaneously turn suggestions into scenes and stories bound to be breath-taking and bloody hilarious.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

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LEICESTER

THURS 8TH – UPSTAIRS AT THE WESTERN

Rhymes Against Humanity:  See what happens when the audience pick the title of a brand new musical & it gets created immediately for them.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

FRI 9TH – FIREBUG

The MMORPG Show: Every show is different.  Every choice has a consequence.  And every step of the fantasy adventure will involve a d20.

https://www.facebook.com/mmorpgshow/

SAT 10TH – UPSTAIRS AT THE WESTERN

The Same Faces: Scenes, games, songs and one-liners, all made up on the spot.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

SAT 10TH – PETER PIZZERIA

Darren Walsh: The UK Pun Champion & Joke Of The Fringe winner shares his off the cuff wordplay.

https://www.facebook.com/DarrenWalshPuns/

SAT 10TH – FIREBUG

Silent Comedy: A silent disco of humour.  Two stand ups perform simultaneously, and you choose who to listen to.

http://comedy-festival.co.uk/event/silent-comedy/

SUN 11TH – SUE TOWNSEND THEATRE

Austentatious: The famous West End show comes to the Leicester Comedy Festival.  An improvised Jane Austen novel with a title suggested by the audience.

http://www.austentatiousimpro.com/shows/tour/

SUN 11TH – PETER PIZZERIA

Punel Show: A new panel game focussed on puns and general silliness.

http://comedy-festival.co.uk/event/punel-show/

SUN 11TH – THE CRITERION

Russell Hicks: A stand up who will talk about whatever he wants, as fast as he can, for an hour.

http://comedy-festival.co.uk/event/russell-hicks-psychobabble/

MON 12TH – UPSTAIRS AT THE WESTERN

Tom Young’s Daft Conversation: An hour of comedy and chat with Rob Kemp, creator of the cult hit “The Elvis Dead”

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

TUES 13TH…THURS 22ND – VARIOUS

Nicholas Holt Does Improv At Every Venue: Humour and dancing combine in this tour of multiple venues of the Leicester Comedy Festival.

https://twitter.com/ellisonnicholas

THURS 15TH/FRI 16TH – LEICESTER CURVE

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical: The truly amazing Olivier-Award winning show brings spontaneous singing to the Midlands once more.

http://www.theshowstoppers.org/upcoming-shows/

THURS 15TH/FRI 16TH – MANHATTEN 34

Sidekick: Some people aren’t life’s heroes.  Comedy show is about the Dr Watsons and Barney Rubbles of life.

http://comedy-festival.co.uk/event/ben-van-der-velde-sidekick/

FRI 16TH – BREWDOG

Happily Never After: Tim Burton style horror musical from The Maydays, Brighton’s best improv group.

http://comedy-festival.co.uk/event/happily-never-after/

SAT 17TH – FIREBUG

Bitchelors: Anna Morris plays four different characters at the Woman Of The Year awards.  Who wins?  You decide.

http://comedy-festival.co.uk/event/anna-morris-bitchelors/

MON 19TH – UPSTAIRS AT THE WESTERN

The Same Faces: “Uncle Armando” show where the group perform scenes inspired by comedian Naz Osmanoglu.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

THURS 22ND – UPSTAIRS AT THE WESTERN

The Clones:  Two leading lights from Nottingham’s improv scene create an unforgettable show.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

THURS 22ND/FRI 23RD – KNIGHT & GARTER

Improv Provocateur:  Four different performers compete every night playing improvised comedy games.

http://comedy-festival.co.uk/event/improv-provocateur/

FRI 23RD/SAT 24TH – PETER PIZZERIA

Crime Scene Improvisation:  Following a five-star sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, see this rip-roaring crime comedy made up on the spot.

http://comedy-festival.co.uk/event/csi-crime-scene-improvisation/

SAT 24TH – PETER PIZZERIA

Darren Walsh: The UK Pun Champion & Joke Of The Fringe winner returns with more interactive wordplay.

https://www.facebook.com/DarrenWalshPuns/

SAT 24TH – HANSOM HALL

Spontaneous Sherlock: Award winning show from Edinburgh, a Holmes mystery with live Victorian musical accompaniment.

http://comedy-festival.co.uk/event/spontaneous-sherlock/

SUN 25TH – UPSTAIRS AT THE WESTERN

Improv Smackdown: Eight of the country’s best improvisers go head to head to find the best performer.  Who will be crowned champion?

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

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NORTHAMPTON

SAT 24TH – THE BLACK PRINCE 

The Same Faces:  Monthly Northampton show, taking ideas from you to make brilliant comedy sketches live on stage.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

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Have I missed a show?  Get in touch and let me know.

facebook.com/midlandsimprov/                                    @MidlandsImprov

MidlandsImprov.com: LEICESTER COMEDY FESTIVAL 2018 – WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

There are more than 30 improv performances at Leicester’s huge comedy festival in February.  The reviews below give a taste of what is to come.

Leicester comedy festival 2018

8th – Rhymes Against Humanity – “Totally bizarre, funny and enthralling”

9th – The MMORPG Show – “An hilarious hour of geekery”

10th/24th – Darren Walsh – “Given any topic he’ll invent or remember a gag on it”

10th/19th – The Same Faces – “Comedy goodness…a strong team of performers”

11th – Russell Hicks – “Hilarious stuff…a talent for riffing off the fly”

11th – Austentatious – “Hilariously bold…ridiculously silly…wickedly funny”

11th – Punel Show – “A masterclass in fast paced puns”

13th-22nd – Nicholas Holt   “The master of combining comedy with anything”

15th/16th – Showstopper! – “More talent here than in any show I’ve seen”

15th/16th – Ben Van Der Velde – “Reliably entertaining”

16th – Happily Never After – “Sure to go down as greats in theatre history”

17th – Anna Morris – “A quick wit and an impressive ability to react”

22nd – The Clones – “Characterisations as perfect as I’ve ever seen”

23rd/24th – Crime Scene Improv – “Top tier entertainment”

24th – Spontaneous Sherlock – “Undeniably funny from start to finish”

25th – Improv Smackdown – “A fantastically funny night out”

 

There’s also plenty of unscripted humour from shows combining a mix of stand-up comedians.  Look out for Silent Comedy (10th), Tom Young’s Daft Conversation (12th) and Improv Provocateur (22nd/23rd).

 

The Leicester Comedy Festival runs 7th-25th February in Leicestershire & Rutland.  Get your tickets now at http://comedy-festival.co.uk/

 

MidlandsImprov.com: GIG GUIDE: JANUARY 2018

14 shows this month in Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry & Northampton.

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BIRMINGHAM

 

WEDS 10TH – CHERRY REDS

Freewheelers:  Experimental theatre from musical group Off Broad Street and female duo Squidheart.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Freewheelersimprov/

THURS 11TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  Show featuring the house team Bunkum Factory and special guests Box Of Frogs.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

MON 15TH – BLUE ORANGE THEATRE

Box Of Frogs: Monthly show in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter with all your favourite improv games.  Absolutely free – ‘laugh, or your money back!’

https://www.facebook.com/BoxofFrogsImpro/

WEDS 17TH – THE VICTORIA

The Kneejerks: A night of comedy and theatre, featuring sketches and scenes and all completely free.  

https://www.facebook.com/thekneejerksUK/

THURS 18TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with a special guest.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

TUES 30TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  First performance by graduates of the Fat Penguin school.    

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

WEDS 31ST – THE VICTORIA

Baron Sternlook: Scenes, songs and an entire musical based on your suggestions.

https://www.facebook.com/baronsternlookimprov/

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NOTTINGHAM

MON 29TH/TUES 30TH/WEDS 31ST – NOTTINGHAM NEW THEATRE

And Another Thing!:  What do you always wish you had told somebody? An entire one-act play created each night by the University Of Nottingham Improv Society.

https://www.facebook.com/UoNImprov/

WEDS 31ST – THE ANGEL MICROBREWERY

Smash Night: Multiple acts spontaneously turn suggestions into scenes and stories bound to be breath-taking and bloody hilarious.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

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LEICESTER

SAT 6TH – CRITERION FREE HOUSE

The Same Faces: Quick fire sketches in the style of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

MON 15TH – UPSTAIRS AT THE WESTERN

The Same Faces:Uncle Armando” show where the group perform scenes inspired by comedian Iszi Lawrence.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

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COVENTRY

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NORTHAMPTON

SAT 27TH – THE BLACK PRINCE 

The Same Faces:  Monthly Northampton show, taking ideas from you to make brilliant comedy sketches live on stage.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

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Have I missed a show?  Get in touch and let me know.

facebook.com/midlandsimprov/                                    @MidlandsImprov


MidlandsImprov.com: REVIEW OF THE YEAR: 2017

wordcloud 2017

There were 275 improv shows in the Midlands during 2017.  That’s five shows a week across Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry & Northampton.  Hidden away in small theatres and rooms above pubs across the country, there are great nights of entertainment all around you if you know where to look.

The highlight of 2017 was the Birmingham Improv Festival.  Filling an entire week in October, it featured 24 different groups from across the country performing to packed houses every night in the Blue Orange Theatre.  I loved seeing so many great shows on my doorstep and discussing them afterwards with fellow audience members & the performers themselves.  Click here for a quick review of every show.

Despite seeing most of the shows at the Festival I only found the time to write a full review for one of them.  Ten Thousand Million Love Stories provided “an intimate and honest portrayal of the many sides of love”.  It’s those quiet emotional moments which stay with me, despite having a bigger reaction during the show to the joyful silly bits and the impressive skills displayed by Heather & Jules.

Other shows I reviewed in 2017:

Several local groups took their show on the road during 2017.  The biggest splash was made by LoveHard, a duo who perform mostly scripted theatre shows with room in each performance for moments of improvised fun.  Broadway Baby praised them as “unparalleled in comedy writing and delivery” and Voice magazine said they were “an unforgettable Fringe experience”.  Twitter fans called them “simply hilarious”, “brilliantly entertaining” and “tear-jerkingly funny”.  You can read the full collection of audience reviews here.

Other shows that went on tour and got big audience reactions in 2017:

My most popular blogpost this year wasn’t about a local group or event.  It was a more general essay about how much more there is to improv than quickfire gags.  Improv does this well, but if that’s not your thing you probably think improv isn’t for you.  Yet improv can do all sorts of comedy, and indeed all sorts of theatre.  There is something for everyone in an artform that melds itself to change with every audience.  Yes, there really is more to improv than “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”.

 


MidlandsImprov.com: GIG GUIDE: DECEMBER 2017

Fat Penguin Santa

12 shows this month in Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry & Northampton.

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BIRMINGHAM

SAT 2ND – THE CRESCENT

Jumprov: Special Christmas show from the UK’s first diverse improv theatre company.

https://jumprov.com/

WEDS 13TH – THE VICTORIA

The Kneejerks: A night of comedy and theatre, featuring sketches and scenes and all completely free.  

https://www.facebook.com/thekneejerksUK/

THURS 14TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  See the unscripted stories from deep inside the mind of a standup comedian Rik Carranza come to life.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

MON 18TH – BLUE ORANGE THEATRE

Box Of Frogs: Monthly show in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter with all your favourite improv games.  Absolutely free – ‘laugh, or your money back!’

https://www.facebook.com/BoxofFrogsImpro/

THURS 21ST – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  Special Christmas show where Santa and the house team Bunkum Factory bring audience wishes to life.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

THURS 28TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  Comedy sketches based on a true story, as told by a special mystery guest.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

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NOTTINGHAM

THURS 14TH – THE MALT CROSS

Gorilla Burger: Theatre karaoke where you can be the star.  Or you can just sit back and enjoy an evening of unplanned, uncensored improv comedy.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

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LEICESTER

MON 18TH – UPSTAIRS AT THE WESTERN – The Same Faces

The Same Faces:Uncle Armando” show where the group perform scenes inspired by comedian Stella Graham.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

 

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COVENTRY

THURS 7TH – WARWICK UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

The Improv Musical/WITS: A one hour musical receives it’s only performance, followed by an improv battle royale with 12 performers competing against each other.  Raising money for Care 4 Calais.

https://www.facebook.com/theimprovmusical/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/warwickimprov/

FRI 8TH – ESQUIRES COFFEE HOUSE

Wow Impro: Free comedy night from the Coventry-based improv troupe.

https://www.facebook.com/wowimprocomedy/

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NORTHAMPTON

SAT 30TH – THE BLACK PRINCE 

The Same Faces:  Monthly Northampton show, taking ideas from you to make brilliant comedy sketches live on stage.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

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Have I missed a show?  Get in touch and let me know.

facebook.com/midlandsimprov/                                    @MidlandsImprov


MidlandsImprov.com: There’s more to improv than “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

WhoseLineIsItAnyway

Thousands of people would be happier and have more joy in their lives if they really believed what I’m about to say:

There’s more to improv than “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

Don’t get me wrong.  “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” was great.  It ran for a decade on Channel 4.  It was funny.  It was clever.  People still remember it despite it finishing nearly 20 years ago.

Here’s what I remember.  Clive Anderson acting as a gameshow host.  Greg Proops pretending 6 foot long chili peppers were earrings, or babies, or whatever.  Ryan Stiles being a superhero with an unusual power, or hosting a party where Tony Slattery is acting like an elephant.

Scenes were short and funny.  Crazy and disposable.

Yet the improv I’ve seen in real life has been much more than that.

I’ve seen scenes ranging from five seconds to five minutes.  I’ve laughed more at what the characters have done than the clever words they’ve said.  I’ve watched sad, quiet realistic moments and expertly crafted horror and musicals.  I’ve enjoyed watching the journey of a character and seeing them get their hearts desire.

More than that, I’ve seen moments where the performers have had glorious triumphs and complete failures.  Both extremes lead to joy when there is a mood that celebrates what is happening right here, right now.  And I’ve had countless hilarious you-had-to-be-there moments, where there’s so much going on that trying to explain the joke is pointless.

There’s a hundred different flavours of improv out there.  “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” was just one of them.  Treat yourself to another.