The ever-hilarious Austentatious return to the West End with a Monday night residency at the Fortune Theatre
“Forgive me, I did not know a mouth baby should be addressed so”
It’s been a moment since I’ve seen Austentatious. Their rise has been sure and steady over the last few years, graduating from monthly residencies at the Leicester Square Theatre to the Savoy Theatre and then on to a weekly booking at the Fortune Theatre, whilst also finding time for highly successful national tours and seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe. And that’s also not to mention that this is a side hustle for this company of very-much-in-demand comedians.
I’ve seen them just a few times over the years but weekly visits at West End prices are beyond even my devotion (that said, there is a loyalty card scheme…). But I couldn’t resist a visit to welcome them back to the bijou surroundings of the Fortune where we were treated to the surreal delights of Northanger Crabby. For the uninitiated, Austentatious is a show entirely improvised in Jane Austen-style and costume from a title suggested by the audience. Continue reading “Review: Austentatious, Fortune Theatre”
Insofar as it is humanly possible for any one person to know everything that is happening at the VAULT Festival this year, I present a handful of my recommendations for 2020.
In all honesty though, I think the best thing to do is just pick a night, go down there and see what tickles your fancy – the level of quality here really is something to admire and means it’ll be very hard to end up disappointed. Take a look at their website here.
Body Talk – 29 Jan — 02 Feb
Full Disclosure Theatre take on male body image from the gay perspective, looking at the damage that can be imposed by obsessing over it.
how we love 18 — 23 Feb
Regi and Babs are getting married. She’s a lesbian and he’s gay but they need the cover to deal with the dangers posed by the prevailing attitudes towards homosexuality in Nigeria.
Notch 19 — 23 Feb
After the devilish fun of Ladykiller, the Thelmas return with this dark meditation on migration, homelessness and obsession from Danaja Wass.
V&V 03 — 08 Mar
Exploring communication then and now, V&V contrasts love stories past and present from Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West’s love letters, to Mia and Lottie’s online missives.
Too Pretty To Punch 03 — 08 Mar
A comedy spoken word show from Edalia Day about gender and featuring original songs and video work about trans life in 21st century Britain. Continue reading “2020 VAULT Festival – 20 shows to see”
A quick round-up of the rest of September’s shows
Mary Said What She Said, aka how far I will go for Isabelle Huppert
The Provoked Wife, aka how far I will go for Alexandra Gilbreath
A Doll’s House, aka if we must have more Ibsen, at least it is like this
Falsettos, aka finding the right way, for me, to respond
The Comedy Grotto, aka a sneaky peak at Joseph Morpurgo
The Life I Lead, aka something really rather sweet
Blues in the Night, aka all hail Broadway-bound Sharon D Clarke (and Debbie Kurup, and Clive Rowe too)
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, aka well why not go again Continue reading “September theatre round-up”
Great news as both Austentatious and Murder She Didn’t Write announce extensions although #ImprovSundays look to be over 🙁
Following a season of smash-hit performances during 2018 (a fair few of which I managed to see), Austentatious: The Improvised Jane Austen Novel have announced that they will begin a Monday night residency at the Fortune Theatre, London from 18 February 2019. And in particularly good news for fans of the troupe, a new loyalty card is also being introduced offering a fifth performance for free once you’ve attended four performances at the Fortune Theatre.
And similarly coming off a successful year, Degrees of Error’s hilarious Murder, She Didn’t Write will continue their monthly shows at the Leicester Square Theatre as their residency has been extended with shows now booked until May 2019. In addition to this, they are due to embark on a national tour where they will bring their Agatha Christie-inspired improv to audiences across England come the New Year.
Continue reading “News: Austentatious and Murder She Didn’t Write announce extensions”
No prizes for guessing where I was this Sunday evening…my second visit of the month to Austentatious at the Savoy Theatre
“You don’t deserve the name crumpet…”
The ghosts of female golf players, pirate nuns, an alarming number of people willing to dig graves, feminist shaming, Irish cultural appropriation, neglected bakers, the most malevolent Mrs Beeton you ever did meet and a breakout musical number from Mr Crumpet that ought to be the Christmas number one. My umpteenth visit to Austentatious, now firmly ensconced in the Savoy Theatre for the Sundays in December, saw us catch Mist and Mistresses.
You don’t get many people called Cecil these days do you. And how I would have loved to have see Wickham getting high in High Wycombe – I think Professor Sam Patton dropped the ball there! But this was a classic of unhappy marriages, unfortunately dead wives, and infidelity on the pier, all set in the swirling mist which allowed for all sorts of shenanigans (Jorge!) and hilarity. Honestly, if you’ve not been to see these guys yet, you don’t know what you’re missing!
Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes (with interval)
Photo: Robert Viglasky
Booking: one more show at the Savoy in 2018, on 16th December
If it’s Sunday, it must be improv. I check out the return of both Murder She Didn’t Write to the Leicester Square Theatre and Austentatious to the Savoy
“I see I am not the only one swelling with possibility”
Sundays are obviously the right time to catch improv companies in London and when their work is this good, why wouldn’t you indulge? I was a big fan of Murder She Didn’t Write when I first caught it earlier this year (review here) and it was little surprise to hear they’d had a successful run in Edinburgh, followed by a rebooking of the Leicester Square Theatre for a monthly residency.
Theirs is an Agatha Christie-style improvisation, taking shoutouts from the crowd for settings and murder weapons (this afternoon saw The Case of the Ice Syringe set at a plastic surgeon’s office) and then spending a good half of the running time establishing its world of batty characters, one of whom will cork it at the interval.
The use of a detective narrator figure provides ample opportunity to pick up on the jokes ripe for further milking, and I particularly enjoyed the way in which one of the unused audience suggestions of Australia Day became a well-worked recurring joke. And it is clear that there’s great chemistry in this group, mercilessly ribbing each other, egging on the corpsing and pushing their inventive improv to its limits. Continue reading “Review: Murder She Didn’t Write / Austentatious”
“It’s coming home”
It’s hard to kick a habit but when Austentatious provide as much fun as they do at their monthly residence at the Savoy, why should I even try to resist? Last night’s entertainment was Ocean’s 5: Bennett Sisters – Marine Heist and offered up a pleasingly different twist on this improvised show, relegating romantic plot to the sidelines for once as gambling dens, cockney Bennetts, competitive musical chairs and chess, and the power of Peter Stringfellow’s hair took the limelight instead. And as is only right on Pride weekend, when a wedding did occur, it was a lesbian one. I couldn’t recommend these guys any more, check out their website for upcoming dates.
Running time: 2 hours (with interval)
Photo: Robert Viglasky
Austentatious is next playing at the Savoy Theatre on 30th September. You can also catch it in Edinburgh in August, and on tour
Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s new play Emilia already looked like one of the top tips of Michelle Terry’s inaugural season at the Globe and with this cast announcement, Nicole Charles’ production fast becomes an absolute must-see!
Nadia Albina will play Lady Katherine
Anna Andresen will play Mary Sidney
Shiloh Coke will play Lady Anne Clifford
Leah Harvey will play Emilia 1
Jenni Maitland will play Countess of Kent
Clare Perkins will play Emilia 3
Carolyn Pickles will play Lord Henry Carey
Vinette Robinson will play Emilia 2
Sophie Russell will play Lord Thomas Howard
Sarah Seggari will play Lady Cordelia
Sophie Stone will play Lady Margaret Clifford
Charity Wakefield will play William Shakespeare
Amanda Wilkin will play Alphonso Lanier
In 1611 Emilia Bassano penned a volume of radical, feminist and subversive poetry. It was also the first published collection of poetry written by a woman in England. Lloyd Malcolm promises to reveal the life of Emilia: poet, mother and feminist from the 10th August. See you there? Continue reading “Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things”
“I am nine and ten, NINE AND TEN”
It’s no secret that I do enjoy a bit of improv and alongside The Showstoppers, Austentatious are surely one of the most reliably entertaining and inventive of companies in the field. Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan, regularly attending their monthly residency at the Leicester Square Theatre and so I was delighted to find out that they’ve gone for an upgrade and for the next few months, you can find them in one of the grander houses of the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre.
If you’re new to the game, audiences get to suggest the title of a lost Jane Austen work like below
Continue reading “Review: Austentatious, Piccadilly”
I should find some other way to record these ongoing visits to Austentatious…tonight’s offering was Mad Mademoiselle Marion and the Magic Pony, good fun as ever but re-using a few elements I’ve seen them do before (which is a little understandable when we’re practically at stalking level now!).