News: Austentatious and Murder She Didn’t Write announce extensions

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”

Review: Austentatious, Savoy Theatre


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 

Review: Murder She Didn’t Write / Austentatious


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”

Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things


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”

Review: Austentatious, Savoy


A belated return to one of the funniest improv groups out there – catch Austentatious at the Savoy, at Edinburgh or on tour across the UK

“I would be from Brighton if I could”

It’s been a little while since I’ve been to see the Austentatious guys, absence makes the heart fonder and all that, but a Sunday night at the Savoy proved harder to resist. And once there, I did being to wonder how I could have left it six months to indulge once again in some of the funniest shenanigans you could hope to see on a West End stage.

For the uninitiated, Austentatious is an improvised show, whereby a lost Jane Austen classic is performed for our pleasure, based on a title suggested by the audience. Tonight’s play was entitled Queer Eye for the Regency Guy, an appropriate choice for Pride month and a searing tale of forbidden love, funny walks, and avocados. Continue reading “Review: Austentatious, Savoy”

Review: Austentatious, Leicester Square Theatre


“Shall I put some cucumber on it”

This latest edition of Austentatious was part of London Book & Screen Week so before the usual contributions of (fake Austen scholar) Professor Sam Patten, we were treated to a chat with (real Austen scholar) Professor Kathryn Sutherland around her work on Austen’s teenage writing (soon to be published) and touching on the woman herself, including some amusing bon mots about our lack of portraits of her and an inadvertent suggestion of what should have been the title for the evening – Bum and Bonnet.

As it was, we were treated to Trump and Trepidation, which offered a fascinating spin on the usual improvised shenanigans as it meant that there was a ready made world of insanity to be relentlessly mocked as well as the made up one that the company creates on the spot. It was an interesting tension (I do object to being made to consider Spicer or Conway characters capable of redemption!) but one that was predictably hilarious as Lord Trump celebrated his victory over Mr Sanders in the race to join the Hampshire parish council by trying to force his daughter to marry him instead of her true love Spicer. Continue reading “Review: Austentatious, Leicester Square Theatre”

Review: Austentatious, Leicester Square


“We were put on this earth to flash the flesh”

Time for the monthly visit to Austentatious and this trip saw Jane Austen’s undiscovered novel Tears and Torsos get its first airing, including all manner of slippery clay, parents inside a tiger, nudity, promiscuity and a diablo maniac in Brighton. As ever, it remains a brilliant way to spend a Sunday night, over and done with in an hour which means you can go home (like my friends did) or carry on drinking (like I accidentally did). Either way, you really should get yourselves along to one of their shows sooner or later. London dates here and UK dates here.

 

Review: 2017 London Jam – Austentatious, Wilton’s Music Hall


“We’re going to have to tell the vicar”

The 2017 London Jam is a festival of improvisation presented by The Showstoppers, in association with Extempore Theatre & Something for the Weekend, featuring a wide range of improv stars from across both the UK and the world – the improvised Ibsen troupe from Norway being the unlikeliest inclusion there. Naturally, we went along to see our beloved Austentatious and as ever, they did not disappoint.

Regaling us with the tale of Fear and Fascination, full of illicit hat-wearing, malevolent vicars with a predilection for flashbacks, and sheep-loving surprises, this was the team at their best, taking their time with a slow start to to tease out some utterly surreal story strands. The bit of audience participation was unexpected good fun, but it was the surprise murder and the group’s stunned reaction and subsequent glee that made it one of the best unknown Jane Austen novels I’ve yet seen.