Review: How To Date a Magical Creature, VAULT Festival

Pushing the boundaries of improv beyond the mortal realm, How To Date a Magical Creature is a comic highlight at this week’s VAULT Festival

Sometimes you just have to murder David Attenborough””

The beauty of improv is, of course, that you can make up anything you like and so it follows that you can base an improv show around anything. Which is, I think, how we’ve ended up with How To Date a Magical Creature, a Parky-style chat show with a guest list made up of an array of fantastical beasts suggested by the audience . 

And from their imagination at this show, were plucked such luminaries as the Loch Ness Monster with wings, an ethnically ambiguous unicorn, and the Mongolian deathworm, not to mention Turnip the teenage witch and Hades. An eclectic and impressive mixture, all put through their paces by effortlessly charismatic host Toby Vanilla (Jonah Fazel), a man who knows just what his voice can do…

There’s a clever mix of ideas to keep everyone on their toes, these are no simple interviews. So Nessie is encouraged to sing a song from their forthcoming free jazz album, Turnip recites poetry and best of all, scenes from the past which have been caught on CCTV are brought to life. The wisecracking Vanilla clearly relishes the ways he can manipulate his pals and in turn, at this performance at least, his pals relish being able to turn the tables on Fazel. 

Most importantly though, How To Date… was consistently laugh-out-loud funny throughout the hour, the sheer inventiveness of Amy Cooke-Hodgson, Susan Harrison, Sally Hodgkiss and Dan Starkey in responding to the most unexpected of circumstances (everything about the David Attenborough sequence was just inspired). A highly enjoyable bit of comedy then, and one to look out for when it next announces some dates. 

Running time: 1 hour (without interval)
How To Date a Magical Creature is booking at the VAULT Festival until 24th February

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