Tea & Toast Present: The Museum of Relationships

Improvising a whole rom com style comedy show around audience suggestions is not for the faint hearted, and this group’s approach is relaxed and confident. Before the show starts they pass slips of paper around the audience asking them to write down an item they had left after a previous relationship. They then collect the papers and put them into a hat for part two of the evening. The first 20 or so minutes is based on reading an old holiday postcard, chosen at random by an audience member.

A gorgeous dash of silly and surreal which is light and sweet

For this particular evening of four performers, the postcard had almost an essay on it and was funny by itself; they then set out to improvise sketches inspired by it. The results included the hilarious almost buying a carpet scene, a tragic tale of a woman decorating a room in her house in the colour of the God of the Sea due to her disappointment with her partner who wouldn’t buy her the cake she wanted, and three very different people all starting a finance course for reasons including their love or hatred of the number 78. The main course of the show is “The Museum of Relationships” where the museum curator takes the three others on a tour of the items in the museum: the items being those written on pieces of paper from the audience. This develops into a series of sketches with an item suggested from the hat, and the links are sometimes delightfully tenuous. The sketches are just the right length; but they also come back to them to give each a conclusion to the story being told. There is also a lovely light mini monologue section where they tap each other on the shoulder to take over the story.

They introduced some lovely one-liners, including a smirk inducing jibe at old fashioned sexism ideals of women at the start, and the utterly bonkers “golden shrimpy future” line in one scene where one partner was told they looked 40% like a shrimp. They each build on each other’s suggestions within each scenario which means nobody, including the performers, know where it’s going to end up; which is all part of the fun. Their imagination is fabulous: from a woman changing her best friend to look exactly like her so they could have relationship based on narcissism; to the brothers from Bros turning up as their scratched CD was calling to them from their one and only fan.

There is a gorgeous dash of silly and surreal which is light and sweet. Kathy Manson shone with her really incredible imagination; there were a couple of super daft songs supported by piano playing – at one time with claw shrimp hands; and Josh Hards showed lovely versatility of the differences between the characters that he invented in different scenes. The actors work really well together and feed each other and are generous with their ideas. They pride themselves on being grounded in truth despite the surreal trajectory of some of the stories and they are right to do so.

Sadly, the audience at this particular evening was sparse, and with less audience, they tend to be quiet, which leaves it all a little flat. This performance was quite low key, possibly as a result. This is obviously a new show and new experience every night, and is recommended for a unique, fun night out.

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The Blurb

An improvised rom-com that celebrates lost loves! The Museum of Relationships is a hilarious and touching sketch show inspired by the audience’s suggestions of mementos collected from past romantic relationships. Fully improvised right before your eyes, come and enjoy a tale of love that will never be seen again! Brighton-based Tea & Toast have been performing improvised comedy since 2016. Their style is grounded in truth and relationships, with a delicious dash of the silly.

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