Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Shoot From the Hip, 20th May

I wasn't sure what to expect from an improvised comedy show. My only real experience of improv was the fabulous Austentatious crew who take an audience's made up title of a ‘lost’ Jane Austen work and from it construct an entire play, completely off the cuff. I didn't think Shoot From the Hip would be doing anything like that, but didn't know what it was they would do. I guess, in my head, they would just be doing something akin to standup, only without a fixed routine.

Instead, we were treated to a lot of shorter, scenario-based scenes, along the lines of that great comedy show Whose Line is It Anyway? The audience were invited to make suggestions which were woven into the content in the scene, or used as a starting point. And the results were absolutely bloody hilarious, having us in stitches the whole time. It far exceeded my rather vague expectations.

The troupe consists of five lads (very easy on the eye I might add), and they were all as strong as each other in terms of comedic performance and timing. Each 'round' if I can call it that, followed a different format, some of which were straight improvisations in a scenario, others were more like a game. In the first one for instance, four of them lined up and one 'conducted' the others. They were doing a verbal version of that game everyone (girls anyway) plays when they're younger - writing a sentence down and then passing it to someone else to continue the story. The one conducting pointed at each of the others randomly, and if they weren’t quick enough off the mark, or if they said something that didn't make sense, we all had to jeer, and they were forced out of the sequence, taking over the role of conductor instead. Or, there was a round where they played out a scene, but the emotion they portrayed changed whenever the audience was prompted to shout out a new one. Rage segued seamlessly into despair which, in a flash became lust.

One of my favourites was the 'Foreign film' round. Two of them played out a storyline on stage in 'Spanish' - and what excellent, completely fake Spanish skills they had. Then the others on the side proceeded to 'translate' the scene in English as it unfolded. Describing such a thing does no justice to the hilarity it provoked.

There were some more 'straightforward' scenes, if you can call a pirate sci-fi story set in a tree straightforward. or one in which an alcoholic doctor is forced out of the army to come home to his sweetheart only to sober up and realise he's been viewing her with beer goggles for the entire romance. 

They played it so well, some of them playing it straight, some of them slightly sillier. It all zipped along apace and there wasn't a dull, unfunny moment. My friend and I cackled ourselves silly throughout the whole thing, and I'm sure we'll be back. They're on every Tuesday at the Top Secret Comedy club, and I would never have known had they not tweeted me and suggested I come along. Entry is free to everyone, just get down there early enough to grab a seat (the whole place was pretty full by the time we got there just before it started). 

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.