Theatre Review: The London Jam - Austentatious - Park Theatre ✭✭✭✭

The London Jam
Park Theatre 
Review by Duncan Brown

20th January 2014: I had no idea what to expect when invited to the Park Theatre's The London Jam - "a week-long celebration of everything spontaneous" but I'm pleased to report that I had a very enjoyable evening.

First up was Austentatious at 1930. As we entered the auditorium we were given a programme which included a slip asking each of us to come up with a new book title in the style of Jane Austen. For some reason my 'Grief and Gardening' was rejected but 'Wine and Whinging' became the title for tonight's improvised comedy.

The proceedings began and ended with an Introductory Address by Dr Sam Patton from the University of Rotterdam (an excellent Cariad Lloyd throughout) who set the irreverent tone for the evening with aplomb, accusing Stevie Nicks of stealing song titles from Jane Austen's oeuvre!

What followed was an hour long impro from the company set in a country house (where else) in 1814 featuring the eccentric Jackson family, landlords to the poor Crabourn siblings and notably featuring Jasper the goat, created by an impressive Graham Dickson. Yes it really was that random! However, there were an awful lot of genuinely funny, laugh out loud, moments.

At times when the pace sagged the baton was passed onto other cast members and although not all the cast were uniformly as strong the impetus was maintained for the most part.

Things became ever more farcical as the European Court of Human Rights (in 1814?) were called into rule on the dispute between families after an excellent Andrew Hunter Murray was accused of looking "askaaaaaaance" at the daughter of the house.

All in all an excellent start to the London Jam and a company well worth seeing again.

4 stars ✭✭✭✭