REVIEW | An Improbable Musical – Royal & Derngate, Northampton

There’s chaos brewing this week at Northampton’s Royal and Derngate as every night see’s a brand new, completely improvised show hit the stage. Now when I say chaos, I mean it in the best possible way. Made in Northampton have teamed up with Improbable to produce An Improbable Musical and I promise you, it is a joy to behold.

There is something truly magical and awe-inspiring about watching a group of exceptionally talented individuals come together seamlessly to create art on the spot, right in front of you. The evening begins with a quick chat to the audience, asking for answers to 3 very simple questions – a special place, a happy word and a brilliant sentence. The audience, and cast, have a giggle as some hilarious responses are thrown about, the cast jot them down, and then the magic begins.

Using the answers given to them by the audience, a completely improvised show is born. With a simple but versatile set piece, a number of bizarre props and a group of fantastically inventive and witty minds – a brand new story comes to life. It takes completely unexpected and hilarious twists and turns, bobbing in and out of scenes and visiting some moments only once, yet it somehow all makes sense and comes together in the most weird and wonderful way. It is a story told through speech, movement and almost unbelievably, song. Music and lyrics are dreamt up right there on the spot as the cast bounce off the beats created by a brilliant on stage band – and they’re really bloomin good songs too. The audiences roars with laughter as the cast brilliantly weave their own words into lyrics, no matter how bonkers – ‘The house is on fire and this time it wasn’t my fault’ a prime example.

Even with 2 members of the company missing last night, this team was faultless. They bounce off each other seemingly telepathically, creating a remarkably seamless piece. It’s hard to believe they’re improvising as every word and movement appears to come so naturally to them. They provide a masterclass in improvisation with exemplary wit and energy. The audience were completely and utterly behind them all the way and they seemed to have an instinctive ability to feed off the audience, generating the most raucous laughter and applause I’ve heard in a very long time.

I implore everyone in the Northamptonshire area to see this incredibly unique piece of theatre before it ends. It is improvisation at its very best, with a stellar cast and an exceptional band that work together seamlessly. It’s a bloomin’ brilliant night out. With hilarity, imagination and talent by the bucketload, An Improbable Musical is the biggest and most unexpected success I may have ever seen. I’ve already booked to go back.

To the teams at Made in Northampton and Improbable, you’ve smashed it out the park with this one. For a night of fantastically chaotic, exceptionally creative and raucously funny theatre, you really must see this.

An Improbable Musical is at the Royal and Derngate, Northampton until this Saturday 5th March – For tickets and info click here.

*Production Images by Marc Brenner

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