reviews and recommendations

Austentatious takes up residence in London’s Theatreland

I love flirting with an old formula which is why I’m certain that Austentatious will never disappoint.  Take a timeless and fine example of a Jane Austen classic, mix it up with some modern cultural references and, hey presto, you’ve got comedy gold.

Austentatious delivers improvisation at its most hilarious and, in spite of its obvious middle-class-ness and literary ‘pretensions’ this is good old down-to-earth bawdy comedy fun. A regular Monday night coupled with the perfect setting of the Fortune Theatre in London’s Covent Garden, makes this a ‘must see’ for the coming season.

It was lovely to see some familiar faces on stage, transported to the 18th century – with the likes of the fantastic Rachel Parris and Cariad Lloyd alongside wonderful performances from two other very funny women; Amy Cooke-Hodgson and Charlotte Gittins.

Let’s not forget the men in this ensemble either. A remarkable performance from Graham Dickson, whose take on the Hugh Grant-realness of the central male protagonist was all too spot on especially when mirrored with another of his off-the-cuff creations, ‘Mr Channel Four’. These two completely contrasting characters made up the hero and the villain in the narrative of the night, as suggested by the audience, ‘Maid in Chelsea, Strumpet in Brixton’.

There are always moments within improvised theatre or comedy where you are not sure if the cast is going to make it. It can be a question of overcomplicating the setups, or it simply becomes too absurd for anyone to keep up. These moments showed just how good these actors are at improvising as they never faltered. The highlight being everyone’s reluctance to complete a ‘monologue’ that eventually made it into the story, albeit in several different guises.

Really funny stuff. Apparently one can get oneself a loyalty card that gives you your fifth show free! Given that every show is guaranteed to be a unique rollercoaster experience, I would say that’s a very good deal for five weeks of original live entertainment.

Austentiatious is at the Fortune Theatre, London until July. For tickets and more information please click here!