One Man Improv

You can’t beat an improv road-trip to see something exciting.  Us MissImpers are getting rather good at it.  On Tuesday evening Geoff, Nick and I saw a one-man improv show at the Hen and Chickens in London that blew us away.

David Shore, two-time Canadian Comedy Award winner and alumnus of The Second City Mainstage and I.O. West, performed a Harold single handedly.  For those not familiar with a Harold, it’s the most performed style of long-form improv.  To explain it fully here would be a blog posting in itself but there’s a useful explanation here.

This was a very brave thing to do in front of any audience, but even more brave given that the audience was comprised pretty much entirely of improvisers from the London scene – and the Nottingham one for that matter.  David admitted afterwards that when he found out we were coming from Nottingham he’d thought “Jeez, I’d really better not suck at this”.

David had the suggestion “tree hugger” (it was mine – no idea why the hell I shouted it.  I’d just had a really nice pint and I think I’d got giddy).  He did an opening monologue full of detail from his life.  It was both “true” and funny.  It explored his Jewish heritage, how his father was a holocaust survivor and the difference between London, Ontario and London, England.

We saw scenes that explored the difference between orthodox and non-orthodox jews whilst playing card games and wii tennis;  We explored, through a father/son relationship, how Vidal Sassoon used dead fish to enhance people’s hair (disclaimer: we don’t claim that he ever has) and we saw a scene about a holocaust surviver and how he gets to play Kobe Bryant at basketball.

All of this was neatly tied together at the end in a scene that mixed together some of the previous characters and themes…. and all of this done with one man playing all the parts.  You’d think having someone moving so frenetically about the stage would be distracting but it wasn’t.  We were transfixed.  David performs another one-man Harold on Monday 18th July.  I’m supposed to be in the West Midlands that day, but I’m pondering coming back via London.  That makes geographical sense, right?

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