When: 6th October 2011 (the next Impropera event is on 15th December 2011 at 8pm)
Where: Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG
£: 12.50 (9.50 Saver Seats)
What was it?
Impropera’s Octoberfest was an evening of improvised opera with a German twist, in celebration of Munich’s own Oktoberfest. The idea behind Impropera’s shows is to improvise musical styles, storylines and characters on the spot from the weirdest of audience suggestions, providing opera with a comical twist.
Impropera are led by Artistic Director David Pearl, who made his Royal Opera House debut aged 9 with Placido Domingo in 1970. The company also features Comedy Store regular Niall Ashdown, powerful sopranos Morag McLaren and Susan Bisatt and musical director Anthony Ingle on piano.
The evening was a little bit like the TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? but with an opera theme. For instance we were treated to a ‘dubbed’ opera, where one of the sopranos sang in ‘Czechoslovakian’ about a spoon, which was then ‘translated’ by Niall Ashdown for the audience. There were more similarly improvised songs all done via suggestions from the audience. Apart from an attempt at an Oompah song, there wasn’t really much of an Octoberfest theme to the evening. That is not to say it wasn’t funny though, and in the second half they performed an entertaining slapstick comic ‘opera’, The Irritable Tantric Therapist of Dublin, with the help of an enthusiastic audience.
As a piece of improvised comedy theatre Impropera’s show worked really well. It got the audience involved, was easily accessible to those (like me) who aren’t really knowledgeable about Opera but like a laugh and didn’t drag on for hours. Hopefully their next show in December will manage a proper Christmas theme and pull in a bigger audience because it would be a shame otherwise.
More info: www.impropera.co.uk