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Rhymes Against Humanity - Theatre Review

Improvisation is a skill that many actors have, yet few are able to master, however Rhymes Against Humanity are certainly trail blazers in their art-form. 


The evening was put together by the fantastic Late Stage Comedy who have recently brought stand up and improvised comedy to The John Godber Centre, Hucknall - a venue we’re very close to (geographically and professionally). Having attended some courses run by Rhymes Against Humanity I already knew the standards were high. Previous shows I’ve seen in a similar vain are ‘Miss Imp’ and ‘Showstopper’ and whilst both shows were brilliantly funny and entertaining, Rhymes Against Humanity were able to put together a show that was not only superbly funny, but so observational with a captivating and believable story-line.

The first half of the show is dedicated to ‘getting to know’ the audience as the four performers, lead by master of ceremony Lloydie, create a series of mini sketches and songs based on the life of us ordinary folk sat in front of them. Anne was first up to bat telling the troop how she met her husband Christopher at a wedding, and their love of beer and whiskey. A wicked and wonderful song about their chance meeting at their mutual friends big day ensued with a hilarious interjection of the Grease Megamix and copyright law. This followed with a scene and song about ‘Hucknall Town FC’s 4-0 defeat’, a series of ‘Asian-food named animals visiting the vet’ and ‘Bingo on tour for single mums’. Though these opening scenes seemed followed a template it didn’t for a second detract from the entertainment factor. The audience soon cottoned on, and even sang along to the improvised choruses, which they noticed when the same sentence was repeated three times in succession “Eyes down. Eyes Down. Look away from your problems. Eyes Down”. 


The audience’s interval homework was simply to come up with the title for the musical that would be performed for the first (and last) time that evening. Unfortunately my suggestion ‘The Undatables at the Jazz Cafe’ was not selected at random, but thank the lord as the musical we saw ‘The Useless Husband’ was brilliant. 

In contrast to the first half, the full length musical we saw didn’t seem to be formulaic and it grew organically with the cast’s superb chemistry. I mentioned the improvised musical ‘Showstopper’ before, this musical thrives on a stop-start approach constantly asking the audience for more and more suggestions, Rhymes did not need any more stimulus than the 3 word title they were given. The experience of the four performers meant that ‘The Useless Husband’ wasn’t taken too literally, and the show eventually turned out to be about 2 women who started a podcast to rival the one their husbands had created… that podcast was called ‘The Useless Husband’. 


Credit also has to go to the musician, Sam, not only was he a master pianist but also brought in occasional zingers to the show. It speaks for the group’s chemistry that Sam knew exactly when the music should start and the tone of the instrumentation. Not every song was a 4 chord song in 4/4 with the same rise and fall, there was even a brief piano solo. 


If you have never been to see improvised comedy before, I highly suggest you experience it, and there is no better troop to witness than Rhymes Against Humanity. Though improv can be hit-and-miss sometimes, a good audience with interesting suggestions can easily turn the tide. As you’ve seen from this review a suggestion doesn’t have to be out-there, wacky or rude it can simply be a trip to the bingo, an oddly named pet or a useless husband! 


Rhymes Against Humanity can be found on all social media @RhymesImprov, their website https://rhymesimprov.com/ has information on upcoming shows and courses, and The Improv Chronicle podcast is available on most major streaming platforms. 



More information about Late Stage Comedy can be found at https://www.facebook.com/LateStageComedyClub

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