Brighton Fringe 2014
Award winning improvisers base a show on peoples memories’ of the last ten years & hopes for the next ten years.
Here we are in the intimate Komedia studio theatre with tables and a bar, to see ‘The Maydays:The Last Ten Years’. As we arrive we are asked to write down a memorable or important event which has taken place over the past ten years and the suggestions are put into a bucket.
The show begins, the first suggestion is drawn and it becomes evident why The Maydays are celebrating ten years as successful improvisers. From audience input as varied as ‘A bad haircut that made me look like a mushroom’ to ‘I was romantic once’, the five piece troupe of Rebecca Macmillan, Liz Peters, Katy Schutte, Heather Urquehart and John Cremer break into well-harmonised songs that are so clever and funny that you wonder how they can not have been rehearsed.
The musical director, Joe Samuel, improvises on keyboard with appropriately matched chords and mood music that lifts the improvisations to a different level. The skill of Maydays is in their variety of technique, opening with a ‘Mushroom Girl’ song and dance routine and continuing into a more concentrated conversation, where stereotypes of Northern culture are lampooned over a romantic dinner. The romantic spaghetti sharing as in ‘Lady and the Tramp’ is contrasted with the sharing of a pickled onion across the dining room table, mouth to mouth which, was hilarious. After a short interval, inspiration for the second half is provided by a member of the audience who believes that she can stop getting old by always being with young, positive people and avoiding old, negative people.
The Maydays then sink their teeth with relish into this old chestnut – man’s desire for eternal youth. Is Brighton really a healthy place for Londoners to move to? Dead bodies wash up around the feet of an ecstatic couple as drug addicts appeal for help. What happens to the Eastern Europeans when they enter the large house with Igor the butler and the mysterious Room 13? Will the family be able to kill the old pet cat? Where does the elixir for youth come from? The answers are all cleverly resolved in a final scene where all the characters and sketches are brought together. It is quite a dark route, full of black humour that the cast take in the second half.
Clearly there is no danger of giving away the plot as an improvised show changes every night and it is this unpredictability that makes The Maydays an act not to miss. With skilled actors, singers, performers and superb musical backup from Joe Samuel, this is a show which is likely to provide for an entertaining evening.