The Hollywood Film Festival is an improvised comedy/drama show taking the standard improvised format onto the silver screen.
There are a few memorable, genuinely funny points interspersed in a narrative with a surprising sense of direction
The six-strong troupe bounce into C-Nova’s little venue 2, dance around a little bit and then ask the audience for inspiration. The evening’s play, barely prompted by the group’s suggestion that the audience could choose zombie or romance genres, is a zombie-romance. The random item selected by the audience is a pineapple.
The audience is swiftly transported to a tropical island - sun, sea and sand stretching as far as the mind’s eye can see. A pineapple falls from a palm tree. Beneath the tranquil vista, however, a dark secret lies. The tropical climes are not only gripped by natural beauty, but a terrifying plot to resurrect the undead. The cast jump into the roles of island chief, chief’s overlooked wife and holiday goer with vigour, donning silly accents and throwing out even sillier jokes. A special mention should be given to Nikki Maraviglia, who’s mad doctor was as mad as it was curiously alluring.
As a piece of improvised comedy the show is relatively successful. There are a few memorable, genuinely funny points interspersed in a narrative with a surprising sense of direction; presumably the result of a loose pre-devised structure. Several flaws detract from these stronger moments however. The cast fall foul of a lack of non-verbal communication, talking over each other at several points and steering the plot in slightly unworkable directions. The show is also incredibly short, clocking in at just over half an hour, making the £7.50-£9.50 ticket price seem that little bit more expensive. The “this is a film” gimmick is also largely redundant. Through vocal stage prompts and the cast’s on-the-spot twirls the audience zooms in, pans out and circles dramatic moments: beyond clunky breaks in the narrative, it is hard to spot the added value.