Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Jumprov | Press Preview Night

Last week I was invited along to experience Jumprov, an improv troupe based in Birmingham, from Birmingham, who are the first all black and ethnic minority improv group in the UK. Now I'm not the most familiar with improv - I had to take part in some back in my theatre studies days and I saw an improv show at the Edinburgh Fringe last year - so I was really looking forward to learning a bit more about it and having a good laugh too.

The show was made up of a series of semi-improvised games and sketches where we, as the audience, were invited to write down and shout out suggestions of locations, characters and so on. From the outset the whole cast seemed really friendly and relaxed which definitely put the audience at ease, especially those who were first-timers. There were some very funny sketches, particularly those that involved confessions that the audience had written down at the beginning of the show, and my favourite where they performed an episode of the TV show Blind Date, where 'contestants' had to answer questions in the style of well-known celebrities and characters. For me, what let the show down slightly was the break in between scenes while they were preparing for the next one. I would have liked the change-overs and introductions of the sketches to have been slicker as this would have helped to keep the pace up and the laughs coming.

That being said, the group have only been together since January so to already be putting on a full length show in Birmingham is quite impressive. The group said they were fed up of being type-cast in theatre productions that needed "a black person" or "an Asian person" so they created a group where they could play any character they liked. In my experience, theatre is still overwhelmingly white and middle class so it's super important to support minorities in order to make theatre as inclusive as it already should be.

Jumprov's debut show takes place at the Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham on Thursday 4th May at 8pm. Unfortunately I can't make it to the official show but from what I saw at the press night, you'll certainly be in for a laugh. Whether you're an existing fan of improv or not, I'd definitely recommend going along to see what this group are all about, especially since tickets are a super affordable £10 each. Be sure to check out the Jumprov website for booking details and more information.

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