The idea behind The One Hour Plays is that through audience involvement a script can be written, cast and performed with the appropriate costumes, props and music in under an hour. A task of this magnitude requires great talent, which the Matey Institute indisputably has.
The host, our director for the afternoon, was sparky and his energy carried the show. After helping us to come up with a plot involving Leo the Brazilian hairdresser, Rosie the raven and Judge Dread, within the first half hour the writer came up with a passable script, with chuckle-worthy moments. Meanwhile, we were distracted by the actors, who played various improv games involving the alphabet: some successfully, some less so. A musician expertly tackled first the accordion, then the violin and then a saw, adding that it was apparently a commonly used instrument for sci-fi and horror genres. The aesthetics were mystical and professional, as all the actors were clad in fabulous pirate costumes and the stage was decorated with multi-coloured flags.
At first the audience loved the power and the freedom of shouting out suggestions for props, characters, locations and time-zones but this novelty soon died down. As is inevitable with improv, it didn’t always work and wasn’t always very funny, with attention lilting and dipping throughout the show.
Although many theatre and comedy-goers might prefer something written, directed and rehearsed prior to the performance, this is a must-see for improv enthusiasts. It will also be enjoyed by adults and children alike as well as anyone looking to experience something a little out of the ordinary.