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.


News – Rachel Parris and Andrew Hunter Murray announce solo dates

“What do we really know about Jane Austen?”

If you’ve followed me with any regularity, then you’ll know that I have become something of an Austentatious groupie, more often than not on the last Sunday of the month (and on selected other dates and venues too) you’ll find me at the Leicester Square Theatre regaling us with one of Jane Austen’s lost novels, improvised on the spot from a title suggested by one of the audience. 

One of these days, it will be mine that is picked, I’m sure of it! (I came close a couple of weeks ago though, look!)

Our no.1 #unchosentitle from last nights show was the very appropriately titled morality play “Where there’s a Wiltons, there’s a way” #true

— Austentatious (@AustenImpro) January 17, 2017

January’s show saw them welcome back the wonderful Cariad Lloyd after a brief maternity break and take on Lust and Lesbians, creating something surprisingly moving and dramatic for once, as well as exceedingly funny with its scandalised servants and threesomes in Magaluf. But I’m mainly here to let you know that at least two of the Austentatious crew have solo shows coming up at the Soho Theatre in March. 

Rachel Parris: Best Laid Plans plays downstairs from 6th – 8th March and Andrew Hunter Murray: Round One (he’s a QI elf doncha know) plays upstairs from 2nd to 8th March and both are guaranteed to be bloody good nights out.

Re-review: Austentatious, Leicester Square Theatre

“I’m Gary, the unicorn”

The diary nature of this blog – in that I have always wanted it to be a complete record of what I have seen – mandates that I have to write something about my umpteenth visit to see Austentatious but truth be told, there isn’t much more to say that you should really get yourselves along to see this most talented and funny group of improvisers who fashion an hour-long lost Jane Austen novel out of a title provided at random by an audience members.

Tonight’s show was the surreal tale of Acid and Tequila at the Chocolate Factory and was as reliably hilarious as it ever is – I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed by them in the many many times I’ve been, so I really do recommend making going to see Austentatious one of your New Year’s resolutions.

Review: Austentatious, Leicester Square

“Look at his fine undercarriage”

It’s practically a monthly pilgrimage now, going to the Leicester Square Theatre to see Austentatious and as ever, it was a genius piece of improvised Austen-related shenanigans. Picking up on the Hallowe’en theme, we were treated to The Invasion of the Bonnet-Snatchers, and again as ever, it’s nigh on impossible to describe how thrilling it is see the company of six devise and dance around each other with such skill, picking up story strands and comic tidbits and threading them throughout the hour with seemingly effortless grace. And above all, they make you laugh, oh so much. 

Running time: 60 minutes (with interval)
November tour dates here

Review: Austentatious, Leicester Square Theatre

“We’ve all been lost in a jazz fugue…”

Just a quickie to cover this most inspired of improv troupes – Austentatious. I’ve seen them a couple of times now (review #1 + review #2) and never failed to be highly amused by their work, as the six-strong company improvise a ‘lost’ Jane Austen story from a title given by the audience – this one was Darcy and the Pemberley Cartel – and let it wind its merry way into whatever shenanigans spill forth. I can’t say much more about it than it is something you should definitely experience live and with a UK tour in the offing (dates and venues copied and pasted from their website below), you’ve no excuse. (London dates are here – generally the last Sunday of the month) Continue reading “Review: Austentatious, Leicester Square Theatre”

Review: Austentatious, Leicester Square Theatre

“I want to see you do the worm”

If you haven’t heard of them, Austentatious are a cracking improv troupe who, having taken title suggestions from the audience, improvise an “eloquent but irreverent” tale in the style of Jane Austen. This festive iteration saw the group tackle Phil and Fallibility, a tale of haughty cousins, French speakeasys, complex welcoming hand gestures and communication channels to the council…it’s all a lot funnier in the watching of it obviously, in fact it is downright hilarious and a definite recommendation for a fun night out that won’t break the bank or keep you up too late. 

Running time: 1 hour
Photo: Idil Sukan
Various booking dates at the Old Queen’s Head and Leicester Square Theatre

Review: I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark On Sundays, Cock Tavern

“I sense this is going to be a sticky run-through”

I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark On Sundays is one of two Tennessee Williams’ plays, previously unperformed, which the Cock Tavern are putting on to mark what would have been his 100th birthday year. I Never Get Dressed… is actually an unpublished work, being written in 1970 immediately after his departure from rehab.

Tye and Jane are two lovers in a bedsit in a sleazy quarter of 1970s New Orleans. He is a stripper, in cahoots with the gangster running the place and driving Jane up the wall with his lazy promiscuous ways. She’s a New Yorker, a former actress trying to make it as a fashion designer but struggling to attract the right interest without having to sell herself. As ever with Williams’, the characters fit into recognizable archetypes: Tye is a strapping brute and indeed the word strapping might have been invented for the bear-ish Lewis Hayes who spends a large proportion of the play in just a flesh-coloured jockstrap; and Jane is a fragile soul, disturbed by the chatter of tourists outside, her decline into poverty, played well by Shelley Lang and they make a destructively persuasive couple. But that is not all. Continue reading “Review: I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark On Sundays, Cock Tavern”