divertissement from Improbable Theatre is described as part chat show,
each of the two
acts a guest - sometimes a celebrity, sometimes someone chosen at
random from the audience - is invited onstage and interviewed by host
Lee Simpson. Cues such as 'Describe a typical meal at home' or 'Tell us
a story from your childhood' lead to the cast of five actors and two
musicians attempting to act out their version of the scene.
question that the gimmick is clever, and the quick-thinking actors are
frequently very inventive. Much of the fun comes as the interviewee
corrects them when they get the dynamics or characterisations in a
scene wrong and they have to shift gears in mid-improvisation, or from
the times they stumble on getting it right, to their own surprise and
a few such sequences, the cast end each half of the evening by building
a musical number out of one of the scenarios.
the other hand,
you may feel that there are taste questions here. Celebrities are fair
game for anything, but while Simpson makes it clear to the people whose
seat numbers are drawn out of a hat that they don't have to come
onstage if they don't want to, they can refuse to answer any questions
and can leave whenever they wish, there is very strong social pressure
from the audience to Be A Good Sport.
celebrityless night one of the two audience members selected was
clearly pushed beyond her comfort zone and urged to talk about things -
e.g. her religion and a childhood bully - that were personal, making
parts of her half of the evening uncomfortable to sit through. (The
other basked in the spotlight, and had no problem with being made to
look more than a bit foolish in scenes from his schooldays and a failed
I don't like watching stage hypnotists make people cluck like chickens, even if they are volunteers, and I can't help feeling that Lifegame is just a sophisticated version of that quasi-sadism. If that doesn't bother you, you may find this a satisfying evening's entertainment.
Return to Theatreguide.London home page.
- Lifegame - Lyric Hammersmith 2010