After multiple sell-out Edinburgh Fringe shows, tours of South Africa and North America, The Oxford Imps are facing their final frontier: Bristol. We spoke to notable imp Archie Cornish about the group, and what they're looking forward to about their trip down the M4.
Tell us a bit about the group, when and how did you form?
We formed fifteen years ago, after a couple of Oxfordians saw improv at the Fringe in Edinburgh and wanted to start it up back home. Since then we've performed regularly in Oxford and Edinburgh and round the world. We're celebrating the fifteenth anniversary all this year and in March we all went for the weekend to this 'Devon' everyone's talking about.
How was performing in South Africa and North America?
Our tours are one of the highlights of being in the company – and we hope the shows we do on them are fun. South Africa was an amazing experience: a performing arts festival in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape. We played to audiences who mostly were quite new to improv, but found funniness or 'shininess' in the same kind of places we find it. We stayed in a country house with a verandah and saw some African penguins. We drank Windhoek. That kind of thing.
What's your favourite improv game to play?
My personal favourite is called Thought Bubbles, where two players perform a scene while two others voice their thoughts. There are so many games and patterns you can find in it!
Who are your improv, music and comedy idols?
Lots of my favourite improvisers are former members of the imps who I revered when I joined! In the wider world, I am a huge fan of Cariad Lloyd, and of any good North American long form too. My favourite comedians are Tim Key and Stewart Lee and my current favourite music is shoegaze from the early 90s and the song about Gareth Southgate from the World Cup.
What are you most looking forward to doing on the night of your show at the BIT?
Performing at a dedicated improv space is pretty exciting! And to a crowd that likes its improv, in the coolest city in the south. One of us is from Bristol but their identity will never be revealed, for fear of reprisals.
The Oxford Imps are performing on Friday 10th May at 8pm. Doors and bar open from 7.15pm. Tickets are £7 and can be bought HERE.