Exterminating Angel - An Improvisation

This show is like watching a perverse episode of Come Dine with Me; except there is no food, no drink, everyone plays the role of host and guest, and without Dave Lamb's sarcastic narration which they do not need because, in this improvised black comedy, they judge one another. Inspired by Maurice Maeterlinck’s 19th century play The Blind and Luis Buñuel’s film The Exterminating Angel, this piece cleverly balances the private and personal, allowing the audience to participate as onlookers without isolating them. This choice not to alienate helps carry the sinister comedy forward and so it becomes deliberately awkward to watch at times, when it comes out of the blue. There are moments in the comedy which will certainly not be to everybody's taste; the way they are manoeuvred blind-sides the onlookers and the audience are forced to watch some very tongue-in-cheek or even fork in lip moments, which aren't necessarily scripted. The piece has excellent one-liners and I’d be interested to see it again to test how improvised the conversation is, as the director attests ‘I never knew what was going to come out of their mouths’.

The audience look out to an almost unnervingly naturalistic setup, catching snippets of both everyday conversation and dark secrets. Portions of mundane chat becomes lashings of grotesque verbalised thoughts all served up over the course of what might be an evening, or what could have been months. The show invites you to gaze into this bizarre setup, which shifts from the everyday to the apocalyptic; it is never really clear what is going on, but something is not quite right and I enjoyed not knowing what this was. Even now though, I'm not fully satisfied that i've absorbed exactly what took place, so maybe i'll go back for a second helping. Join this group of friends for dinner, but you must stay for dessert.

Reviews by Charlotte Monk-Chipman

The Blurb

Hot from a sold-out tour comes this hilarious and terrifying new play about a dinner party that never ends. Improvised afresh for each showing, no two performances are ever the same. 'A gem ... wonderfully funny' (WhatsOnStage.com).