A NoHo Arts theatre review of Impro Theatre’s “Jane Austen Unscripted” running through May 8 at the Garry Marshall Theatre.
I was lucky enough to see this brilliant troupe of improv actors at the Broad Stage in 2018, and I can hardly believe that was four years ago! They blew me away. And my husband has been an improv actor for decades, so I have seen some shows I can tell you!
“Jane Austen Unscripted” is really in a class all its own. The purely improvised show is set around a theme plucked fresh from every new audience. In the case of the show I saw on Saturday, someone blissfully shouted out “beekeeping” and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Garry Marshall Theatre has really pulled out all the stops for this sublime production, turning their gated yard into a garden party, complete with a hedge festooned stage, a string quartet and tables scattered about where the audience sits being served tea, biscuits and lovely cucumber sandwiches.
I felt utterly transported and, as the audience nibbled on their treats, some of the wonderful cast strolled around pre-show, delighting us with their Austen-esque small talk. As the show got underway, however, food became the last thing on my mind, as the actors spun out the tale from scene to scene and from hilarious moment to masterful manipulation with their Olympian skills of improvisation.
How they manage to create an entirely new plot with fabulous Regency characters with all the foibles of any of Jane Austen’s actual personas is miraculous, quite frankly. And as they magically conjured the romances, the heartbreaks, the tragedy and the joy, with all the subtext of the master herself, I was mesmerized.
Impro Theatre was founded in 1988 and began as a short-form improv group, since then they have become L.A.’s premier long-form improv theatre group, giants in their field.
In fact, “Jane Austen Unscripted” truly is a masterclass in improvisation. Its wonderful members are virtuosos of the form, as skilled with language as they are with action and able to manipulate, enunciate and extrapolate with “Austen-tacious” abandon.
If you are shy about venturing out, gird your loins, this is all outdoors, after all, and to miss these beautiful, profoundly clever and completely electrifying performances would be a crime!
Bravo and Huzzah!!!!!
“Jane Austen Unscripted” is only available for the next few weekends! Didn’t I hear it’s Mother’s Day soon? So, don’t be a twit, get your tickets now!!!!
Ted Cannon, Eric Carthen, Nicholas Daly Clark, Leanna Dindal, Kari Coleman, Susan Deming, Kirsten Farrell, Stephen Kearin, Jully, Lee, Kelly Lohman, Rebecca Lowman, Michael Manuel, Nick Massouh, Sara Mountjoy-Pepka, Dan O’Conner, Mike Rock, Paul Rogan
Through Mother’s Day May 8
Saturdays and Sunday 11am and 3PM
Garry Marshall Theatre
4252 W Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA 91505