14 January 2016
Reviewed by Ann Durrell
Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel is simply brilliant, it had me laughing from start to finish. The cast of 6, in full regency costume, completely improvise the entire show and they are bloody good at it!
Before taking our seats we were given a programme which included a blank book cover so we could write suggestions for a Jane Austin Novel that were collected prior to the show. ‘Dr Sam Patton PHD’ a worldwide specialist on Jane Austen introduced the show giving insight into how Austin wreaked havoc across Hampshire and was killed in a knife fight at the age of… I am not sure of her credentials but she was very funny. Dr Patton then picked a couple of the book suggestions from a hat before settling on the novel they would be performing ‘The Child Lied’.
I was really impressed by how quick witted the cast are, and very sharp. How they managed to (mostly) keep their faces straight is a real talent. The plot of the baby lied centred around Mrs Carston and Lord Carston and their daughter Agatha. We meet their maid who lets out the secret that the beautiful baby is the Antichrist who has to have a raw egg at 3 daily and eats raw steak stolen from the kitchen! There was the reverend green and his wife Mrs Green, again not bitter she didn’t get a title. Mrs Green was unable to have children and rubs her belly against female parishioners in the hope that this will make her more fertile. The good thing about improv shows is that you, and the cast, never know what is going to happen next. At one point Mrs Causton had Rev Green pretending to recite her version of the bible which was very funny. The cast seem to delight in trying to make each other corpse and to make it as difficult as possible for them to carry on.
All in all this is an excellent show, go and see it, I would certainly catch it again next time they come to Manchester.
For more information and tour dates visit www.austentatiousimpro.com.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000