The 2013 London 50-Hour Improvathon at Hoxton Hall
Even as this review is being published, top improvisers from the UK, Europe and North America are bombarding their audience with some of the funniest and most spontaneous comic lines in London. As you are reading this, get your coat and head down to Hoxton Hall, Shoreditch.
At 7pm on Friday 11th January, an audience squeezed themselves into the 150-year-old venue with a buzz of curiosity towards the comedy soap opera that was about to unfold. A group of actors started to perform their 50 hours of continual improvisation for an audience that changes as many times as the storyline does, creating some outrageously stripped-down and wildly chaotic comic moments.
Where the storyline is at this moment, nobody really knows; but this does not matter in The 2013 London 50-Hour Improvathon. The time is the 1920s; the setting, Cairo. A gathering of extraordinary characters have all happened upon “The Hotel Continental”, and there have been some bizarre and unearthly goings on …
With each episode starting at 7pm, 9pm, 11pm, 1am etc. the story is told in twenty-five 1hr 45 minute episodes, with 15 minute intervals, until 9pm on Sunday 13th January. Plot summaries are given at the beginning of each episode, so you immediately feel onboard. And it isn’t just the superb characterisation of the actors, or the exotic set of the Hotel Continental that provide the atmosphere to the Egyptian adventure. From the very beginning the audience seemed to anticipate and appreciate the eccentricity of the Improvathon, making it really feel that this 50-hour feat could not have been received as freely or ridiculously anywhere else but in London.
Episode One met some A-class celebs such as Howard Carter, Rudolph Valentino, Zelda Fitzgerald and some Z class – hotel proprietress Mincey Gently, silent movie star Fearless Dugbanks and French maid Sal Sal. Flying hats, new works of art by Salvador Dali, keyless keys and a rather unsavoury relationship between a guest and a camel proved in just two hours that anything can happen at The Hotel Continental. Who knows what the remaining hours will hold? Do not miss out!
Photos: Claire Bilyard
The 2013 London 50-Hour Improvathon will be continually performed from Friday 11th January through to Sunday 13th January at Hoxton Hall, Shoreditch. For further information visit the show’s website here.