February is an exciting month for me, not just because I’ve discovered how to make a new rice salad but also because it is packed full of improv adventures. The London run at The Other Palace of Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is well underway now and I’ve been enjoying playing a variety of characters; Petite Betty the Russian spy, a scientist sailor, a melting snowman, a 58 year old teacher, a bird who turns in to a woman, a football playing schoolboy and a reluctant naturist to name a few. The venue is lovely, the staff are great and I think it’s fair to say that we feel very at home here. We even caught a glimpse of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s back disappearing out of the foyer so if that’s not a good omen I don’t know what is! The audiences have been very sweet and it’s been great to meet so many people afterwards for whom it’s their first trip to see us and who are keen to come back.
On Thursday the 7th I am temporarily hanging up my Showstopper red and black socks to go to the first ever Edinburgh International Improv Festival. I feel so honoured to be invited, not only to perform (with BEINGS and in the closing night Armando show) but also to coach the ensemble team who are an ace team of improvisers chosen from all over the UK. With excellent acts such as Abandoman, Spontaneous Potter, Do Not Adjust Your Stage and Dummy it looks set to be an awesome festival. I shall let you know how it goes!
Sandwiched in between the Showstopper London and touring shows is the London 50 Hour Improvathon which I’ll be popping along to on Sunday the 17th. The Improvathon is a 50 hour non-stop improvised soap opera which this year is set in the Wild West. Expect to see incredible improvisers from Canada, America, London and throughout the UK and this year there will be plenty of exciting new faces (from Mischief Theatre company among others) too. I don’t know which character I’ll be yet but am hoping that in between Edinburgh, London and Bury St Edmunds I’ll find some inspiration.
At the end of February I’m off to the Welcome Festival of Theatrical Improvisation in Rome with Justin Brett to perform in These Folk, an improvised duo show inspired by folk music. Justin and I are huge fans of Teatrale Bugiardini since seeing their Improvised Silent Movie in Edinburgh, so we were very excited when they asked us to come and perform (and teach) at their festival. I can’t wait to sample the top quality Italian improv, not to mention the top quality Italian pasta.