Improv is a difficult thing to perform even when you are with a group of people who you know have your back. Neil Curran has however taken improv one step further and his show Neil +1 is performed by him and a random member of the audience. What happened for the next hour was truly remarkable.
Beginning with some music from Sean Curran, who I must say was a brilliant performer and has a voice you could listen to all night, the audience relaxed and delighted in listening to some of Sean’s original songs.
Then Neil took to the stage and the show began. He first asked how many people had never been to an improv show before. A couple of raised hands and a few minutes later Margaret was asked up on stage. After a brief chat with her, which served two purposes- to help her relax and also to find out as much information about her as possible- we learned that she was a singer in a band with her husband and that they run a driving school together.
From the outset it is clear that Margaret is going to be a brilliant +1. They begin the story trying to decide on the name of the band, a tough choice made all the more difficult when Margaret announces that she is pregnant. A curve ball for Neil and a game changer for the plot of the story but one that both Margaret and Neil deal with very adeptly.
The story goes from strength to strength from there on, with plot twists like Paul (her husband) leaving her and conversations with her daughter, Custard Cream, about him and who he was. Secrecy surrounds his identity until his solicitors get involved and want to pay her off to keep her silence as he is now a big time star; David Bowie! To end the show, Margaret’s daughter tells her that she has quit college because she has met a guy and he’s in a band!
Neil +1 is a very risky and brave venture for anyone to try. This in a way should not work, a random stranger should not be able to get up on stage and perform a show for an hour. But it does work, very well in fact. Margaret, once she got into a rhythm was a fantastic addition to the show. She was smart, witty and simply just went for it. Supported by Neil, who I must say did a sterling job of both controlling the situation but also giving Margaret enough room to shine through too, the show was engaging and when it was over, it left you wanting more.
For a night out with a difference and to see something which you will have never seen before, I highly recommend you check out Neil +1. Details of all Neil’s gigs and other information about him can be found on his website
[Image: Tony Kinlan]