Double Bill:
Breaking & Entering +
The Homunculus.


DOUBLE BILL: Breaking & Entering + Homunculus



Wednesday 26th March – 7pm: DOUBLE BILL: Breaking & Entering + The Homunculus.




The Homunculus is a two-man improvised comedy act from Tim Grewcock and Shaun Lowthian. For many centuries, physicians and alchemists believed that every living thing contained miniature fully-formed humans - the homunculus. Blown up to full-size and with a single word of inspiration, Tim and Shaun create a panoply of hilarious scenes, stories, characters and songs that, however unusual, draw the audience into a familiar world.. They invite you to enter the world of The Homunculus.



Breaking & Entering are Lauren Shearing (NewsRevue, Monkey Toast) & Maria Peters ("Left me helpless with laughter" - Fringe Guru). Graduates of the Improv Olympic in Chicago, Lauren & Maria are regulars on the improv circuit in London and beyond. While also performing with various other improv groups, they are best known for their two person improv show. Armed with just two chairs and a stage, Breaking & Entering take inspiration from audience suggestions and improvise their entire set, creating captivating characters and uniquely wonderful stories that are different with each performance. No two shows Breaking & Entering shows are ever the same; you never know what to expect, and neither do they. 


"Fun, joy, characters, truth, game, play, laughs, emotion, their show has got it all going on in every single scene"

- Hoopla Impro



Maria Peters & Lauren Shearing


Tim Grewcock & Shaun Lowthian



Find out more about The Homunculus and Breaking and Entering below . . .



Tell us about your group


Maria's performance history includes 4 x Edinburgh Festivals with Hoopla, The Inflatables & CannonBall Improv Troupes. She's survived 30 hour Improvathons in Bristol & London. She's sung in 100s of improvised musicals with Music Box and is a regular guest at the Improv Comedy Club in London Bridge.

Lauren trained in improvisation at the iO in Chicago, and in London under David Shore (Second City) & Abra Tabak (UCB). Lauren is a cast member of long form improv group Monkey Toast UK, and has also performed with Music Box and The Inflatables. She graduated from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, and has a background in both stand-up and sketch comedy, having performed at The Edinburgh Festival and across the UK.



The Homunculus are Tim Grewcock and Shaun Lowthian, with music from Pocket Satellite’s Tom Dixon. Tim has trained with the iO (Tara DeFrancisco) and in acting and playwriting with RADA. He performs regularly with Do Not Adjust Your Stage. Tim is one of three writers in the AllthePigs/New Diorama Theatre First-Time Writers Initiative. Shaun has trained with the iO (Jet Eveleth), the UCB’s Abra Tabak, Shannon O'Neill & Alan Starzinski, and David Shore (Second City), in addition to Susan Messing and the Sohns (Annoyance). Shaun also performs with Do Not Adjust Your Stage, & co-wrote/performed the comedy play Radio: Now In Technicolour (Winner, Forever Manchester Award).



What was the best piece of advice on improvisation you’ve ever been given?

Mark Beltzman’s ‘Talk to each other about each other’ boils it down pretty nicely. Susan Messing’s ‘Relax your crack’, while not suitable for children is top advice for what you need to be doing on stage . We both pulled all manner of gems from the amazing iO teachers - eg ‘Act like a paranoid schizophrenic on stage, everything means something’



The amazing Abra Tabak from UCB told us - 'Find the thing that's fun in the scene, and then follow it. If it's fun, do it more' so we try to keep that in mind when thinking about game - that's a great one.

Plus our teacher Craig Uhler at iO told us  'Specificity plants improv inspiration time bombs' - yeah it does!

And of course Susan Messing - "If you're not having fun, you're the asshole'. That's a brilliant one to repeat to yourself just as you go on stage. 


What is your favourite improvisation exercise and why?

We love Mind Meld - two people trying to say the same word on a count of three - because it helps you to listen & focus on each other - plus when you finally reach the stage where you say the same thing you get to celebrate by singing at the top of your voice and dancing all over the room together like children who've had too many e-numbers on their birthday which also happens to be Christmas Day. FUN. 


Anything that boils improv down to the basics is good when you’ve checked-in to the Crazytown Hotel in a workshop. Sometimes just making eye contact in silence for 10 seconds before you start keeps things real and grounded.  If you’re worried about your head disappearing up your rear, making up children’s games is top fun and great for getting everyone on the same page.




What's your pre-show ritual/warm-up?

Usually reminiscing to each other about obscure Winter Olympians until we arrive at 2002 British Curling Gold Medallist Rhona Martin - then all bets are off, Apollo Ohno and Herman Maier excepted. If there’s a more fun vocal warm-up than Many Mumbling Mice, we’ve yet to come across it.


A lot of stretching and a good lunge or two, followed by as much dancing and Diet Coke as possible.



Recommend a book on improvisation ...



Maria: It's really hard to choose just one book but 'Truth in Comedy' by Charna Halpern was so ridiculously good I scrawled all over it in pencil with notes and underlinings. I never normally write in books but there were so many brilliant pearls of wisdom in it I had to underline in a desperate attempt to insert them in my brain for ever. I turned into the RainMan over that book. 

Lauren: Absolutely yes. We're also working our way through the UCB Manual which so far is proving to be ace and is packed full of good improv exercises - I'd recommend that one to improv beginners everywhere.



Mick Napier’s Improvise is a cracking read. Ze Hard Tacke (The Hard Road) by Thorsten Holke and Bitte Caymen is a perfect example of how useful it is to read outside improv and bring it back - we wouldn’t have made it round Europe’s railway network without it.




Anything else you’d like to add about your show, your group, or improvisation or the world in general ...


Probably just to go out see a load of improv. Its really taking off in the UK at the moment with tons of groups doing really creative things. Best to get in now before we all sell-out to the man and start endorsing Haribo for coins. Hmmmm Haribo. Delicious.