Pros: Impressive, spontaneous, creative and hilarious. Fearless comedy to great effect.
Cons: A guest speaker’s lecture on the philosophy of colors was hard to follow.
Improv, I believe, is just as nerve-wracking for the audience as it is for the performers. Not particularly good at being on-demand funny myself, I tend to go into such performances with a stomach-full of butterflies: ‘Will they pull me up on stage to make a fool of myself?’; ‘Will they call on me for a suggestion and I draw a blank?’ or, perhaps the biggest concern of them all, ‘Will they just not be that funny?’
With improv troupe Do Not Adjust Your Stage, one need not worry. This was skillful, un-arrogant and brave imrov performed by a talented ensemble, unafraid to take risks and push boundaries while having the oh-so-important good grace of knowing when to stop. There was no dead horse flogging here (a personal comedy pet peeve).
The structure of Do Not Adjust Your Stage’s show took on a welcome reprieve from your typical taking suggestions from the audience format by inviting two expert speakers, one for each half, to give a short talk on their subject of interest which then inspired forty five minutes of comedy.
On this particular evening, Helen Betham delivered her lecture on unusual animal mating rituals (and was unexpectedly quite funny herself) and Dr James Andow delivered his presentation on a the philosophy of colour. While the former topic probably lends itself more naturally to humour than the latter, the performers creativity, fast thinking and smarts created some seriously entertaining sketches.
Most impressive, perhaps, was the performers’ ability to not only create, independent sketches but to cleverly draw on previous successful scenes and moments and build on them in new sketches to make them even funnier. Some scenes were more successful than others, and there was some chuckling at the performers occasionally stumping each other or calling out the other’s oversight on stage. But all in was all in good fun and easy to forgive when they all seemed to be having such a great time.
A mention must go to the venue, The Nursery, an artsy little whole in the wall (or rather a railway arch in Southwark). The small and intimate space created the perfect setting for improv while the BYOB allowance in place of a bar provided a jovial and relaxed atmosphere. For anyone with a funny bone and a predilection for learning something new in a fun and casual atmosphere, Do Not Adjust Your Stage provides a different and enjoyable night of comedy that should not be missed.
Producer: Do Not Adjust Your Stage
Booking Until: DNAYS will perform again at The Nursery on 11 July.
Booking Link: http://www.dnays.com/shows.html