Whenever we hear the term 'Yes Queen', these days what automatically pops into our heads is the popular association with RuPaul's Drag Race. However, on this occasion, The Warren was lit up with the West End's first female led improvised comedy troupe called Yes Queens. These saucy and fiesty ladies had a very unique approach in the sense of being completely led by suggestions from the audience to put them into the improvisation games that evolved on stage.
It will make you laugh, cry and cheer all at the same time.
These games ranged from improvising a story when different people were pointed at by a 'conductor' role to make sure the game continued seamlessly, to having a scene change direction by an observer shouting 'change'. By being put on the spot, the scene changed direction abruptly and to the hilarity of all watching. With particular games you'd normally see in the popular television series Whose Line is it Anyway?, the Yes Queens not only paid tribute to the series via these games, but added their own flavour to the evening by bringing in interesting choices to keep everyone engaged.
One of the big highlights of the show was taking four scripts by four very different playwrights, getting it whittled down to two and improvising a scene that involved extracts from both, as well as improvisation. On this occasion, we had the audience choice of the direct style of Caryl Churchill, alongside the heightened storytelling style of Bertolt Brecht, with the scene set so that it also involved a box with a head in it. This choice of throwing in scripts alongside improvisation seemed like a big risk, but it was one that was not only humourous to watch, but it brought a depth you don't always seem to get in improvisation. That depth was brought by the scripts, which then in return opened up more possibilities to the scene as the girls explored how they viewed body parts and what they were used for. They were not afraid to throw themselves into the material no matter what was thrown at them and the trust that is needed for this kind of performance was evident here. So much so, we couldn't believe that this was completely improvised.
But what made Yes Queens work seamlessly was the sauciness and cheekiness of the women involved. Sometimes with improvisation, a lot of groups can play things very safe in case they offend. Not these queens! Due to their bravery in being true to themselves as women, as well as performers, what emerged was an honest, courageous show that not only entertained, but also more than likely has inspired someone to have a voice and maybe also encouraged someone to be themselves. This was and is, one of the big highlights of the Fringe that has to be experienced to be believed, as it will make you laugh, cry and cheer all at the same time.