Imrov Show Has Sights Set On West EndDate: 18 November 1999
Amsterdam's hugely successful company of actor-comedians, Boom Chicago, make their London debut at the tiny Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly, on 29 November prior to a hoped-for West End transfer.
Boom Chicago, consisting entirely of Americans, first established themselves in the back of an Amsterdam bar in 1993, playing mostly to American and English tourists. These days it is based in the 300-seat Leidesplein Theatre in the heart of the city's theatre and restaurant district, and plays to a mixed audience of tourists and natives, most of whom speak good English.
The company made its UK debut last year at the Edinburgh Festival, and repeated their success this year with two sell-out shows, 200 Years Down The Drain, From Jesus Christ To Jerry Springer and Pick-Ups And Hiccups.
Their shows are a heady blend of improvisation and pre-scripted narrative. In their main show, Jesus Christ becomes a guest on The Jerry Springer Show, and a new superhero comes to earth to rid the world of digital TV. The jokes keep on coming and the air crackles with energy.
'What we do is really fresh and different,' says founder-performer Andrew Moskos, 'Improvised comedy hasn't really moved on from Whose Line Is It Anyway?. We've tried to take it on to the next level, more inter-action with the audience, more sound and light, more pizazz.
'When we started out it was a choice between London and Amsterdam and we thought it would be nicer to be bigger fish in a smaller pond. Now we feel ready for London and we're looking for a West End move in the new year. Our goal is to be the next Reduced Shakespeare Company. Our energy is similar to theirs and we're anti-stuffy like they are. In fact the Criterion would be the perfect venue for us!'