Improv theatre can often be hit-or-miss, so naturally I was apprehensive about the quality of the Oxford Imps’ show, History: Remixed!, tonight. However, I didn’t need to worry, as the Imps provided an entertaining, silly and, above all, extremely funny night of theatre. As the show naturally will be different with every performance, this review will reflect what I saw tonight, and will not contain spoilers for the show.
The use of St. Mary Magdalen’s Church as a venue was a smart choice, as the grand interior fed into the historical nature of the play. The acoustics were generally good although I did struggle to hear occasionally; this was perhaps more down to issues with projecting from the cast, but that could be easily rectified. There was live music as well, which added to the ambience and enhanced the show. The performance was also a sort of musical, with the cast improvising songs in different styles: for this performance, the audience was treated to Doo-Wop, 90s RnB, and more. The singing was not technically outstanding, but the humour landed, which was the main thing.
This performance followed a presentation from an A-Level student (Chase Harrison), on history. As per the spin of a wheel, the historical subject was Ancient Greece and the cast told the story of Candle Throwing (Megan Morgan), a name devised by the audience. Candle wanted to repurpose the use of the word circle from, as we were so assuredly assured by Timothy, an ancient slur, to a descriptor for the shape. The plot was nonsensical, which was perfectly expected, and allowed for some hilarious movement through different historical periods. It was surprising that a show set in Ancient Greece could contain so many cowboys, but then again, the entire show was a surprise even to the actors. There were some stellar turns tonight with special commendation being given to Blake Rayment and Chloe Jacobs playing Candle’s rivals and anti-shape protestors. Their banter was brilliantly executed and they worked exceptionally well together. The entire cast, in fact, was strong, which was a pleasure to see, and made the whole experience all the more enjoyable to watch.
There wasn’t that much audience participation, but leaving much of the action up to chance allows for variety and uniqueness night-by-night, so if you attend this show be sure to expect absolutely none of what I just described, and so much more. Overall, the Imps provided a night of light, humorous entertainment, and I would personally love to see some of their other performances, as they regularly put on shows all around Oxford. They were professional but still had barrels of self-awareness and you could tell that they all enjoy doing what they do. If anything, it was a shame that the audience wasn’t very big, so I highly recommend grabbing a ticket and heading to this show. It’s only an hour, and you won’t regret it.