Last Saturday night was a very eventful evening in the little town of Eastleigh in Hampshire.
Morgan Freeman murdered a man with a paper cup, ogres fought gangsters in TK Maxx, Donald Trump opened a ‘Naked Christmas’-themed wine bar, and aliens landed in the New Forest.
It was all going on, and I blame the boys from The Noise Next Door.
The Noise Next Door (TNND) are currently on their fourth national tour, ‘Uproar!’, bringing classic comedy and improv to the UK. These guys know their stuff; they’ve been featured on BBC1 and BBC3, and even on Radio 4, to name a few.
I was lucky enough to have seen them on my first day at the Edinburgh Fringe last year; so when I found out they were appearing locally, I jumped at the chance to see them again. I am a sucker for improv.
The premise of their show could be described as ‘mayhem’. They really do give off a vibe of three mates (recently down from four – sob), having a laugh – professionally. It’s fun, fast, and very, very clever.
Were you ever a fan of Whose Line is it Anyway? Or do you love the quick-fire ‘scenes we’d love to see’ segment in Mock the Week ? Then you’d love this show.
Using audience suggestions and current affairs, TNND create catchy songs, solve murder mysteries and play out weird and wonderful scenarios on stage. The sky really is the limit.
The Point at Eastleigh was packed for this show and everyone seemed to have a brilliant time. There was such a range of ages and types in the audience which surprised and delighted me. TNND appeal to all (though 18+ may be a good idea).
The worst thing with improv is if the audience are difficult and unresponsive, but thankfully we were never short of (obscure) suggestions and willing
victims participants, which made for a brilliant night.
Throughout the evening we heard a song all about Donald Trump’s new wine bar in Eastleigh town centre, and we saw the cast of Die Hard learning to make the perfect lemon drizzle cake.
Then the audience got involved; a man with a guitar provided the soundtrack to a song about green poop (…yep) and one chap’s recent text messages formed the script for a bizarre skit about Monopoly that ended with a spontaneous (and somewhat intense) sky-diving trip.
Max saw the future and witnessed his daughter’s 18th birthday party, played out by TNND, and two unwitting singletons were serenaded in the classic boy band power ballad to top it all off.
My favourite part was probably ‘This Just In’ – we were asked to send in suggestions of headlines we’d love to see, and they were acted out for us after the interval. Reminiscent of Whose Line is it Anyway, it was simple and very, very funny.
Charlie was sent out as a roving reporter to ask the people of Eastleigh about their thoughts on an alien invasion in the New Forest. Eastleigh was, of course, dead, and there was nobody on the streets to talk to, which was utterly hilarious.
The beauty of this show is that no two nights are the same; each evening is personalised to the audience and the location. It’s encouraging us to get creative, suggest things we wouldn’t expect to go together and see them evolve into a song, a dance, or a sketch.
The other thing I love about improv and TNND is that it is essentially, playing. We don’t use our imagination as much as adults, and embracing it is not only liberating, but brilliantly fun. This is exactly what TNND do – asking ‘What if? Why not?’ and going for it.
Charlie, Tom and Sam all work wonderfully together and all have a lot of talent; it takes a lot of guts to make a bit of an idiot of yourself on stage, talk to strangers constantly, attempt accents and come up with ingenious characters at the drop of a hat. These guys are full of energy and ideas.
Seeing them at The Point took me right back to my time at the Fringe and reminded me how much I love comedy, especially improv. If you’re up for a fun night out with some surprises, slightly saucy undertones and a lot of laughs, I can’t recommend TNND enough.
They’re on tour at the moment, visiting Bath, Brighton, Warwick and Tunbridge Wells amongst other venues: find out where they’re performing and book your tickets.
You’ll be humming ballads about balls for days (…sorry Mum.)