Hoopla and The Maydays

Hoopla and The Maydays

Hoopla Cast: Steve, Edgar, Maria, Becca, Georgina
Maydays Cast: John Cremer, Alexis Gallagher, Jason Delplanque and Liz Peters with Joe on piano.
The Black Horse, 18th August 2010

I initially started out with my typical pre-show stresses of ‘are enough people going to come?’ and ‘is the room looking okay?’. These were somewhat added to by the roof then leaking with water from a flood of the pub the previous night. The Black Horse is still more pub than venue, something I’m hoping to fix come Autumn. I was also then a bit worried about how the two groups would mingle and get on.

But these worries soon vanished. A lovely audience of warm friendly people turned up including a forward thinking family who had decided to go and watch some impro instead of the usual Phamtom of Les Chicago shows in London.

Hoopla started with 30 minutes of short form games including Storyteller Die, Sounds like a Song (Edgar was hilarious just naming credit cards), Boris after a long forgotten absence, Chorus Line and World’s Worse. The highlight had to be Boris with Edgar taking an amazingly long time to work out that he’d killed his own Mother. I absolutely loved it. Short form gets a bad press in the impro community sometimes for some reason but we love it and can’t see why you can’t do everything. It’s silly, funny, energetic and a great start to an evening.

After that The Maydays presented their show Guest Who show. Their scenes were based around monologues given by their special guest, media expert and professional speaker, Mike Dodd. Mike was a lovely warm Australian man who really got the hang of sharing stories with us from his actual life. Some of them, like ‘pavlova’ then inspired memories for him from growing up in Oz like having massive barbecues with friends and family. The word ‘helmet’ inspired a great story about a neighbour he had when he was a child who had a cool motorbike unlike all the other Dads. The Maydays then improvised scenes based on these stories – not following them by the letter, but using them as inspiration. I particularly liked the scene about a Father telling his son to keep him as a Dad but to get a different role model, and two competing Australians comparing size of prawn, shrimp, langoustine and lobster.

After an interval came my favourite part of the show, where all The Maydays and Hoopla were on stage together and John got suggestions from the audience based on their real life. It was nice that the suggestions had more weight than normal impro suggestions and the audience were incredibly supportive of this, with real stories including a lovely lady who worked in a Turkey gutting factory for three weeks, a chap who missed the smell of London when he moved to LA, and a computer whizz who made a database to make the numbers go sideways.

The groups then used these stories to inspire scenes that rapidly escalated. It very much felt like an evening of minds combining rather than competing, as the scenes rapidly escalated into totally unplanned places. I particularly liked the entire cast being dragged into The Matrix when they read a piece of paper the wrong way round.

Overall what I loved about the evening is that it went from short form games to singing to scenes to long form without missing a beat, showing that all in all it’s all the same – fun!

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