Thursday, 19 July 2018

‘Making it up on the hoof’ was a hotline to a hugely fun night

WE were fully drawn into this interactive piece, starting with the writer addressing us directly and answering

WE were fully drawn into this interactive piece, starting with the writer addressing us directly and answering his flashing red telephone “hotline” to take a call from “Mr Mackintosh” the producer.

Calling to mind the television show Whose Line Is It Anyway? with vivid red frames on stage, this improvised musical comedy involved audience participation in shaping the musical themes, the plotlines and the outcome.

The on-stage writer asked us for ideas and would scribble throughout, jumping in at crucial points to ask our opinion and suggesting we tweet our ideas during the show.

There was a West End production in Shaftesbury Avenue on the same night, so we also got to find out what they had been tweeting.

We found ourselves enjoying numbers in the style of The Rocky Horror Show, Sweeney Todd and Glee among others, to great success. Our Theatre Royal story, which the audience helped name Your Room or Mine? (Something Rotten), unfolded in the setting of a Home Counties-meets-Noo-Yawk sleazy hotel, raising the question: “If it’s sleazy, how come it has a penthouse?” I was amused at references to “Reigate, Noo Joyzee”.



Two couples having flings find their stories are intertwined and this becomes a saga down a family line, replete with the odd possible moider, pregnancies, apparitions, crooked cops and crazy hoteliers.

I thought it was a great idea that the same actors played fathers and in turn their sons, and mothers and their daughters.

It was intriguing to try and figure out what had been pre-arranged in a skeleton structure, to be fleshed out live and on the spot with such classic lines as “Basingstoke, Basingstoke, give it a poke, it’s Basingstoke.”

Everyone was game and a clever little tale unfurled, again shaped according to the whims of our audience on the night.

With lots of characters and charisma, this show kept us on our toes, was great fun and managed a happy and serendipitous denouement.

Review: Natalie Aldred



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