Review: IMOGENÉ: the improvised pop concert, VAULT Festival

IMOGENÉ: the improvised pop concert tickles my improv cravings in quite some style at the VAULT Festival

“I’m used to playing stadiums”

It’s no secret I love a bit of improv so an advisory warning of “strong chance of audience interaction, costume changes, excessive glitter and oversharing” is like manna from heaven. IMOGENÉ: the improvised pop concert promises all of this and delivers more in a highly amusing hour of made-up pop songs, crowd-surfing antics and audience banter which is deceptively slight, smuggling in some on-the-point truths about some weighty themes.

The show sets itself up as a rare chance to see an intimate concert of the megastar IMOGENÉ (once she’s got off the helicopter from Tokyo natch) and since she’s about to head into the studio with Mark Ronson, we gotta help her write some new songs. So dial down your inhibitions and toss your suggestions into the hat as there’s nothing quite like having a spangly leotard serenade you and lead you into some kind of new enlightened state of being.

Queen feminist clown Imogen Palmer gets the atmosphere just right with her over-the-top stage presence, settling us all at ease even whilst getting all up in there. And she’s clearly skilled at drawing out the stories and details she can use to whip up into an album of feminist rock songs, downright filthy grindathons and chant-a-long stadium anthems, whilst nailing the light-hearted but serious intent of promoting nothing so simple as kindness.

Special mention to musician Jack Orcozo Morrison (who, had I his consent, I would call a snack) who improvises brilliantly from the keys and also threatens to steal some of the limelight with a teasing subplot that comes to life during the costume changes (which are plentiful and fabulous). My only note would come with the over-reliance on a comedy French accent which periodically veers perilously close to Joey-from-Friends territory – on this evidence it is a flourish that isn’t needed. 

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
Photos: Lee Pullen
IMOGENÉ: the improvised pop concert is booking at the VAULT Festival until 28th February

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