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Review: Austentatious at High Wycombe Town Hall
FLESH eating worms, riding yaks on the snowy Dorset hills and a clairvoyant barman - welcome to the odd world of Austentatious.
It's an hour of improvised comedy inspired by the work of novelist Jane Austen and set in period dress.
But the costumes are where the similarity between Sense and Sensibility and the work of the seven-person cast of Austentatious ends, if their show at High Wycombe Town Hall on Friday night is anything to go by.
Audience members, upon arrival, were invited to think of a name of a 'long lost' Austen novel and write it down and place it into a hat, with the title of the show - and with it, the storyline - being picked out at random.
Friday's show was Dissuasion, which was either a spelling mistake or a misguided attempt at writing in Austenian language by a member of the audience.
The show kept the language and the basic premises you would expect of an Austen novel - deceit, unrequited love and a family tragedy.
But there were no sombre, brooding and domineering male lead characters or downtrodden, tragic heroines here.
Instead there were plenty of laugh out loud moments and the cast have to be applauded for not falling about on stage when some of their colleagues waiting in the wings were doing their best not to burst out laughing with the rest of us.
They also managed to bring the story round to a conclusion and with it a happy ending - via references to Destiny's Child songs and a scene in the world's first service station. Imagine a bit in Pride and Prejudice where Mr Darcy goes for a bite to eat at Nando's on his way to the Bennet estate, and gets accosted by a psychic wearing a jester's hat along the way.
It all makes for an extremely odd, but incredibly funny, evening out. If you get the chance, even if you're not an Austen aficionado, you must go and see them.
For tour dates and more details on the show go to http://austentatiousimpro.com/.
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