There aren’t many nights when you’re going to see a story involving a scarecrow in the style of Noel Edmonds, a wedding at the theme park and an epic Pokemon Go tale.
But such is the absolute joy of improv.
Left Foot First are a London based long-form improv group, who create sketches and play games, based around audience suggestion. Bounding onto the small stage area in the dungeons of The Purple Turtle, the five piece – Andrew, Sarah, Tai, Mark and Johnny – set the energy bar high for their show, and kept it up throughout.
With Andrew as a compere, Left Foot First created a welcoming and friendly tone from the start, and the audience lapped it up, shouting out suggestions without hesitation and even joining in for an impromptu comedy sing-a-long.
The hour-long show was divided into different games or sketches, each as funny as the last. The scarecrow game saw Andrew, Sarah and Johnny, play a scene, based on one word from the audience – ‘scarecrow’ – with Andrew acting as director. Several changes were made to the scene (i.e… play the scarecrow like a celebrity), based on more audience suggestions, and it was brilliant.
Another game which saw Mark go on a quest to find a Harry Potter horcrux was a stroke of genius with Tai playing different celebrities called out by an audience member. His impressions were brilliant, and a trio of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush was a particular stroke of genius.
With improv there’s always a delicate balance to strike. We want the actors to have as much fun as we do, and there’s a big pay off when you see a sly smile or an actor trying not to break into all out giggles, but of course they need to keep the show rolling. At times Left Foot First felt a tiny bit safe – there was potential for them to really play with each other during a scene where Sarah had to guess her job, transport and the reason she was late for work but they kept things quite easy for her. That kind of catching each other out will probably be something that builds with more shows, and for now their friendly, upbeat rapport is fantastic regardless.
While every member of the group was very funny, bringing their own unique skills to the party, Sarah was a stand-out and gave the boys a run for their money by bringing a feminist twist in when the insult of ‘you sit like a girl’ was thrown. Her sass and comic timing was spot on.
Don’t Put Your Feet on the Ground was brilliant Friday night entertainment and Left Foot First are definitely ones to watch in the improv space.
The Reading Fringe Festival continues until Sunday 24 July. For the full programme and tickets visit www.readingfringefestival.co.uk
I was invited to review the show so my tickets were complimentary but all views are my own.