One of Komedia’s most unique, hilarious and downright ridiculous nights – Comedians Cinema Club – returned last week, with an improvised reworking of Pixar’s Monster’s Inc.. A team of six comedians, led by Laura Lexx who brought Eric Lampaert’s original concept to Brighton’s Komedia, had one hour to reproduce the animated classic “on the lowest budget you’ve ever seen”.
The evening took place in the intimate downstairs studio of the bustling North Laine venue; a warm space consisting of a small stage, a bar and a cosy gathering of comfortable red chairs and tables. With everyone seated and suitably hydrated, the team – consisting of comedians Laura Lexx, Joz Norris, Eleanor Morton, Simon Fielder, Sooz Kempner and Paul McGarrity – assembled onstage for a warm up in the form of a film quiz. Rounds consisted of general trivia, identifying soundtracks, an impressions round in which participants had to get their celebrity across while reading from a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and an improvised scene from an imagined horror film starring Ryan Reynolds and Zooey Deschanel and entitled “Oops I Did It Again!” – courtesy of course of audience suggestions.
The quiz was a superb entry into the evening, allowing both audience and performers to let go of their inhibitions and get a feel for the room about them. It was made particularly funny by Joz’s arbitrary scoring, reminiscent of Whose Line Is It Anyway? He announced at the beginning that points would be allocated for “correct answers and incorrect answers with panache”, and scored not only the two teams, but also quizmaster Laura, the audience and himself, for just about any reason he fancied.
After a brief interval, it was time for the main event: Monster’s Inc.. Directed by Laura, and intermittently joined by audience members to stand in as magical singing doors, the rest of the team got to work recreating the film as best they could from memory. Simon Fielder gave a strong and entertaining portrayal of top scarer “PMS Sullivan” but the real star of the show was Joz as his one-eyed companion “Mike “The Big” Lebowski”, who perfectly captured Mike’s squeaky-voiced neuroticism and uncontainable energy. His costume was simply fantastic too – in the most pitiful way – consisting of a bright green t-shirt with a jumper stuffed under it and one and a half paper plates stuck on to resemble an eye and mouth.
Eleanor Morton also performed with excellent creativity and top-notch impressions, portraying slug-like administrator, Roz, and Mike’s Medusa-haired girlfriend, Celia. Hysterically endearing costumes consisted of an enormous black beanbag dragged behind her, and an audience member’s fluttering fingers about her head, respectively.
Paul McGarrity portrayed a hilariously creepy Boo, a head taller than the other performers and never without a glassy moronic grinning, calling to mind Rory McCann’s Lurch from Hot Fuzz. Sooz Kempner played enemy Randall’s helplessly incompetent assistant Jeff Bloggs complete with hard hat and third eye. Randall himself was invisible for the entire play due to one of the actors dropping out last minute, which only added to the humour.
Charmingly amateur and outrageously funny, the show tapped into a place inside of us oft-neglected since childhood. Certainly it wasn’t without some wit – Eleanor’s forth wall nudging observations about Pixar’s limited female representation were biting and refreshing – but ultimately it was a chance for a group of people (both performers and audiences) to have a real laugh, without having to care about sophistication or refinement. Comedians Cinema Club is a gloriously entertaining idea, and this excellent team had all the right skill, energy and silliness to wholeheartedly pull it off.
Featured Image: Wikimedia Common