Improbable Theatre, Lifegame

Review in Issue 10-2 | Summer 1998

Part chat-show, part therapy session and part improvisation, Lifegame borrows a technique from Keith Johnstone to create a mildly diverting evening of improvised performance. In cringe-worthy ‘This is your Life’ style, a special guest star is quizzed about their formative life experiences, whilst an assembled cast of improvisers provide reconstructions which bring the autobiography to life. At this performance it was BAC Director Tom Morris’ turn to look embarrassed, as his memory bank was probed for comic fodder.

To succeed, Lifegame relies on the cooperation and charm of its guest star, around whose reminiscences the performance pivots. Tom Morris warmed to the task with aplomb – feeding the company with juicy titbits from his childhood and boarding school days and telling the story of how, the night before his interview for the job of Director at BAC, he dragged his then girlfriend out of bed to stage a dry-run of the interview in preparation.

The formula of Lifegame provides a clever framework around which improvisation can be built. However, like the tedious TV show ‘Whose Line is it Anyway’ which it resembles, much of the performance lacks originality and the improvisers knee-jerk reactions to the material is sadly lacking in imagination. Cue actors shuffling around on their knees and adopting squeaky voices when they reconstruct a scene from Morris’ childhood, for instance.

Ultimately the ‘in the Psychiatrist’s Chair’ type revelations from Tom Morris prove more engaging than the scenarios built from them. The parallel trip down memory lane that the show undoubtedly provokes in the minds of every audience member, also make the evening entertaining. However, it is Tom Morris, with his wry and understated reminiscences, who turns out to be the true star.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 1998

This article in the magazine

Issue 10-2
p. 21