Mischief Theatre has pretty much cornered the market with their very British style of comedy. With The Comedy About A Bank Robbery still thrilling audiences in the West End, The Play That Goes Wrong winning prizes on both sides of the pond and a televised version of the new A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong following on from last years festive favourite Peter Pan Goes Wrong, they have become veritable maestros of mirth.
But fans of the original company, which was formed by a group of LAMDA graduates, can get back to the roots of the comedy this year, with Mischief Movie Night. The hour-long improvised show at the Arts Theatre takes us back to where it all started and immediately has that raw and uncomplicated feeling.
The company is comprised of many of the original cast members and therefore once the themes are initially introduced (with the help of audience suggestions) the onstage chemical concoction is exemplary.
The idea is that Oscar (Jonathan Sayer) is going to watch a film from his collection and once the genre and subject are established, the movie is improvised in front of our eyes. Think Whose Line is it Anyway? mixed with a Carry On film and you’d be on the right track.
On the night I attended, we were treated to a Christmas sci-fi rom-com, which was as bizarre as it sounds. Hilarious and yet at times just a little bit stunted, the cast established roles and storylines, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t, all of which just added to the fun.
It doesn’t have the same level of ingenuity of Showstopper! the improvised musical but it is nevertheless extremely clever and very funny and at just an hour in duration, is a lovely little break from the rigmarole of Christmas.
Reviewed by Nicky Sweetland