7pm, Exeter Phoenix, Thursday 6th June
'Anxiety' was the chosen word at this performance, acting as trigger for three very different short plays. The first saw a crotchety old man (Tai Lawrence) have an exchange with his grown up son (Alexander Chard). Expecting the improvisation to focus on comedy, I was taken aback by the unexpected gravity with which this piece was played, dealing with a troubled childhood, yet steering clear of melodrama. It was beginning to lose energy before the end, but we were quickly into the next piece.
In the second play, holistic therapist (Hetty Burton) dealt with divorced businessman (Lawrence), and unhinged man (Chard) to hilarious effect, demonstrating some great physical theatre. Asked to take part in breathing exercises and bizarre confrontations with their inner demons, this was the most overtly funny piece. Yet it was a treat to see an improvisation where the performance doesn't fall to farce. The actors knew not to overplay their hand.
Finally, we were confronted with nervous groom to be (Chard), best man (Lawrence), and bride to be (Burton). This was perhaps the most clichéd piece. Nevertheless, the performers sold it and it was a joy to witness the complete transformation of these actors. The Improsarios reminded me what raw acting talent looks like by producing scenes which were varied, subtly played, and entertaining.