The Highly Irregulars.


The Highly Irregulars: Upstairs Downton



Saturday 2nd March – 7.30pm: The Highly Irregulars: Upstairs Downton


Upstairs Downton: The Improvised Episode is presented as a "lost episode" of a popular TV costume drama set in the 1920s. It takes its inspiration from Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey but is entirely based on audience suggestions. Period costume and props are mandatory. At the start of the show our founder -- "Sir Julian Chappes" -- steps forward and asks the audience to help him craft the latest episode by choosing a protagonist, whom they name, an aim for the protagonist and a random object which must be included. We then improvise a comedy drama around that. It is very exciting and funny! And you don't need to have seen Downton Abbey or Upstairs Downstairs. Thank goodness.



Upstairs Downton


Cast: Jonah Fazel, Christopher Shevlin, Viv Groskop, Charlie Dinkin, Simon Lukacs, Avril Poole, Victoria Claringbold, Mark Nilsson, Maeve Ryan



Find out more about The Highly Irregulars below . . .



Tell us about your group

The Highly Irregulars are a group of nine improvisers, comprising actors, comics and writers. We met through Spontaneity Shop. Our first show was in September 2012 at Hoopla at The Miller in Borough, London.



How did you discover improvisation?

Viv Groskop: I came to improv via stand-up and was first taught "Yes, and…" by comedy guru
Logan Murray .


Charlie Dinkin: I tried a short course at The Second City, and then I went back for a whole term of my degree. The credits did not transfer.

Victoria Claringbold: I was always a fan of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and The Comedy Store Players. I started improv classes after meeting Tom Webster (of The RH Experience) doing a play.


Avril Poole: First time I went to a drama club we had to improvise a scene, it was a real rush. Years later I joined an Impro class and i've been hooked ever since.


Mark Nilsson: I did a Spontaneity Shop course.



What’s the most memorable improvisation you have seen or been part of in the last year?

Viv Groskop: I really enjoyed the bizarre improvised interaction between Tim Vine and the band at The Horne Section's late night Edinburgh show.

Charlie Dinkin: I went to see TJ and Dave in New York and I CRIED. They were that good. Also I tripped down some stairs and broke my toe. ..but only because I was distracted by how good it was.


Victoria Claringbold: Do Not Adjust Your Stage performing a killer Harold based on the word ‘Donkey’ including a tyrannical mafia boss named Don Key.


Mark Nilsson: An improvised musical by the wonderful Baby Wants Candy.



What are your top three impro tips?

Viv Groskop:

1) Listen. 2) Listen. 3) Listen.

Charlie Dinkin:

1) Make everyone else look amazing and you will too. If you do this people will actually want to play with you and probably won't call you names behind your back.

2) If someone else pays for your drink you are technically employed and a professional.

3) Pimps are often hilarious but should only be used within a loving relationship.


Victoria Claringbold:

1. Don’t add too much sometimes the simplest ideas work best,

2. Be positive

3. Commit to what you are doing even if it is the most bizarre suggestion ever.


Avril Poole:

1. Go see, go do.

2. Listen.

3. Yes and...


Mark Nilsson:
1. Take your time.
2. Welcome cock-ups.
3. Re-incorporate silly details.



Recommend a book on improvisation ...

Viv Groskop: The Improv Handbook by Tom Salinsky and Deborah-Frances-White
Charlie Dinkin: 'Process' by Mary Scruggs and Michael Gellman. Good reading for anyone who wants to think about how they can push their impro skills to make even better and more dangerous things.
Victoria Claringbold: Sanford Meisner on Acting (Sanford Meisner and Dennis Longwell) This is great for Improvisers and actors alike as it helps you lose your self consciousness and focus on the other performer.



Write you own question on improvisation and give an answer ...
Viv: “What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you during an improv scene?”


Finding decent, affordable rehearsal space in London.


Charlie: “What do the letters in 'impro' stand for?”


Imaginatively Making People Roll Over (with hopes.)


Victoria: “What is it that makes Improv so positive? ”


It is all about being in the moment. It makes you feel so alive. You have to think about what you are doing right at that second and that is good for you as well as I hope being entertaining and funny to an audience.