A Disney movie, set in Pontypandy (the hometown of TV’s Fireman Sam), featuring the impossible love between Princess Margueritte, confined to her tower above the fire station, and ‘Gevin’, the orphaned shop assistant, just back from London, where he learned his various non-specific skills – and chainsaw juggling.
That was the unlikely, but hilarious, premise of Mischief Movie Night, the improvised comedy performance which opened at Cardiff’s New Theatre tonight (Wednesday 18th July).
The audience was invited to choose a genre, location and various other aspects of the ‘film’. Then, for the next hour, the amazingly talented cast from Mischief Theatre company performed it – creating every scene, every song, indeed every bizarre character, as they went along.
And the characters tonight were indeed bizarre – Lionel the Lasagne , as voiced by Sylvester Stallone, Francois the French flannel, Fanny the fan, a face-changing Koala, Uncle Bannister, and an over-zealous Dirty Dancing police force, to name just a few.
Under the direction of our host, Oscar (Jonathan Sayer), the action is sometimes paused and rewound. We even have the odd extra scene added from the director’s cut or background documentary.
It sounds like it couldn’t possibly work as a comedy – you might expect performers to dry up or talk over each other, or for any narrative to fall apart. But none of that happened – this was the funniest thing I’ve seen on stage since the same company was in town with The Play That Goes Wrong.
This show is an absolute treat – witty, inventive and joyously absurd.
The incredibly versatile on-stage musicians create a score which has to keep up with, and sometimes drive, the action, and the performers all impress with their ingenuity and humour.
Far from vying for individual attention, they support each other – sometimes literally, if someone needs to do a flying kung fu kick, or climb a tower, as they did tonight.
I cannot recommend this show highly enough. It runs until Sunday (22 July), and as every performance is different, you could go several times and get a new experience.
My only disappointment is that we may never again see Margueritte, Gevin and their weird friends on stage. Perhaps Disney will make it into a real movie?
Tickets are available from the New Theatre box office on (029) 2087 8889 and newtheatrecardiff.co.uk.
Review by Andrew Weltch