A surprising and entertaining night of improvised comedy at Islington’s Rosemary Branch Theatre, Jack Left Town makes for smooth viewing and more than a few belly laughs.
This cast of 4 have an easy rhythm and sense of timing that carries them through even the most ridiculous of storylines. Jack Left Town is the name of the world’s greatest rock band (that you’ve never heard of) and this improvised mockumentary gives the audience an insight into their illustrious-adjacent career.
The cast take suggestions from the audience as to the names of Jack Left Town’s albums and use the funniest as the basis for the plot. Naturally, that honour was given to yours truly and the plot was based on the name ‘Memories of a Disgruntled Trout Fish’. Considering the difficult nature of the title, the cast were quick to build a plot that included the lead singer’s 1⁄8 Fish Heritage, a maniacal financial manager and attempted murder by molten gold.
The strength of this production lay in the casts willingness to lean into the absurd elements of their narrative. The biggest laugh of the evening was the result of a throwaway line (“I like big things”), which led to some astounding physical comedy as the hilarious Scott Oswald struggled to make a cup of tea with imaginary 10-foot high utensils.
The speed of wit and variety of setting that made the main event a success was not as polished in opening act The Greater Good, who boxed themselves into a slightly joyless scene from the onset and couldn’t seem to find a way out. Second starters, The Improv Committee, benefitted greatly from the relationship between Max Dickins and Nick Hall – who riffed together beautifully!
Overall, Jack Left Town is an enjoyable evening that I could be convinced to repeat. The inter-cast connections that are so crucial for improv were clear, making for smooth viewing and more than a few belly laughs.