31st October 2012
Comedian and writer Viv Groskop won Spontaneity Shop’s Maestro Improv earlier this year and was a finalist in Funny Women 2012 (also a huge jumpsuit fan, see her fab blog here). To follow are her favourite things to see and hear this autumn.
Pappy’s are Matthew Crosby, Ben Clark and Tom Parry. I first saw them at Karaoke Circus, a mad bi-monthly comedy extravaganza masterminded by comedian Danielle Ward and musical maestro Martin White. When sketch trio Pappy’s took to the stage it was to sing It’s Raining Men whilst wearing miniscule denim hotpants and dancing around with transparent umbrellas. It culminated with one of them pulling off his hotpants and leaping, naked, into the crowd whilst sprinkling handfuls of glitter dust around himself. Unpredictable, hilarious and immensely silly, Pappy’s Last Show ever was nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award this year and they’re now touring the UK until the end of November. Despite their show title though, it isn’t thankfully, their last outing as they have a new run at the Soho Theatre next April. Oh and Matthew Crosby is also a brilliant solo stand-up. See him. See Pappy’s.
I was lucky enough to see Kersha Bailey at Power Down, a showcase at The Power House, Metropolis Studios, in Chiswick, a stupidly cool recording studio frequented by persons such as will.i.am, Adele and Madonna. Power Down is an invite-only music showcase which takes place every few months to mark the re-opening of the studios once the latest big-name diva has left the building.
Bailey was last on to play a twenty-minute set in a baking hot, packed room where she silenced the place the second she opened her mouth. Fragile, soulful and powerful all at the same time. Her acoustic ballad Promises is gorgeous but I’m a sucker for covers so I loved it when she mashed it up with Jar of Hearts. Get me with my mashing it up.
One of the biggest stand-out free shows at Edinburgh this year was Austentatious: An Improvised Novel, a wonderful, completely improvised show where a stellar cast of six weave an ad hoc tale in the style of Jane Austen. Their wit and panache have been rewarded with a coveted residency at Leicester Square Theatre (next shows: Nov 10, Dec 9).
Improv has finally started to get the audience it deserves in London. Other great shows include improvised chat show Monkey Toast (check their website for dates), Grand Theft Impro at The Wheatsheaf on Thursday nights and Hoopla at The Miller on Wednesday nights.
What Would Beyonce Do?
This was the other super-smash-hit free show at Edinburgh which absolutely did not deserve to be a free show. Lucky audience. Comedian and improviser Luisa Omielan presents a no-holds-barred whistlestop tour of her life as a single girl still living at home with her mum to a pumping Beyonce soundtrack. Brilliantly funny, inventive and original, I sat behind Sue Perkins when I saw it in Edinburgh and she could not stop laughing and neither could I. Catch it at the Comedy Cafe in Rivington Street, EC2, every Tuesday until the end of November. Tweet @luisaomielan #whatwouldBeyoncedo to reserve free seats.
Upstairs Downton: The Improvised Episode
It would be rude for me not to say that this is my favourite thing because I am in it and it is one of the most exciting things I have ever done. In Upstairs Downton we attempt to recover a “lost” episode of everyone’s favourite period drama, guided by our founder, Sir Julian Chappes, using suggestions from the audience. Still trying to work out which is best: playing upstairs or downstairs. Wearing a frilly maid’s hat is pretty hard to beat. “Like” the Facebook page for updates on where our next gig is.