Paul Merton's Impro Chums

Paul Merton and his “Impro Chums”: Mike McShane, Lee Simpson, Richard Vranch and Suki Webster, have been practising short form improvised comedy for decades and bring their combined centuries of experience to create a new, never-before-seen show on the spot. Sketches, songs, skits and gags cover anything and everything the audience can throw at them and are spun almost effortlessly into a hilarious and dazzlingly impressive evening.

Paul Merton’s Impro Chums is an exhibition in passion and unfettered enjoyment. It has all the polish of a scripted performance with the added jeopardy of it being co-created as you watch.

Whilst the prospect of creating something on the spot in front of a paying audience seems risky and can strike fear into the heart of many, the Impro Chums seem safer than ever when they’re left to their own devices. This is a very tight-knit, incredibly talented group who clearly understand each other’s processes very well but can also surprise each other (and often themselves) even after all this time. Particularly astonishing was their production of Shakespeare’s latest work, ‘King Lairy’ which saw the troupe creating a fully formed and concluded plot complete with rhyming couplets and poetry Shakespeare himself would have found entertaining.

It is the synergy of the group that is so delightful, that somehow the Impro Chums together are greater than the sum of their parts, this is something a lot of short form improvisation groups tend to struggle with as one or two performers will inevitably outshine the others. Their shared success is at its most evident during one game in which Merton was required to guess what his occupation was – nothing so simple as a builder or policeman but instead he is a man who retrieves geostationary satellites through the means of modelling (specifically) double-stitch knitwear. The audience had settled in for a long night as they’d wait for Merton to finally figure it out but the group managed to drop enough hints for Merton that he guessed his occupation word-for-word within fifteen minutes. Not just funny, but absurdly clever, too.

Equally inspiring was the sheer joy expressed onstage by all performers throughout. They love their jobs and indulge in every single moment of their performance. Paul Merton’s Impro Chums is an exhibition in passion and unfettered enjoyment. It has all the polish of a scripted performance with the added jeopardy of it being co-created as you watch.

Rarely do you find improvised comedy that could pass as devised and pre-rehearsed but this fresh and thrilling production gets very, very close and must be seen to be believed.

Reviews by Stephanie Bartlett

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Impro Chums are wonders of nature, taking audience suggestions and creating cascades of laughter. Creating a new show every night based entirely on suggestions from the audience the Impro Chums, using their finely honed improvisational skills and an almost manic compulsion to show off, generate cascades of tumbling laughter.

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £46.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £15.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets