It wasn’t until we chatted in the pub afterwards that I really thought about it; having another man sitting close behind you with his fingers in your mouth, pulling your face apart, would be extremely uncomfortable. Especially if it went on for a while.
Matt Gurney, for it was he who was having his face pulled about, was telling my mother in the pub after Deaf Improv Comedy how he had to give Daryl Jackson little inconspicuous digs to get him to lay off the face pulling for a bit as they both sat on the stage floor. Jackson had Gurney laying between his legs.
Jackson, often seen on BBC’s See Hear, played the hyperactive hands and Gurney the rest of the body of a patient in a short improvised comedy scenario game where the topic is chosen by the audience. ‘The dentist!’ someone said. Jason Sharpe and David Sands played the panic stricken and totally clueless dentist faced with a shouting and waving toothache stricken Gurney-Jackson hybrid.
Eventually, after much comedic faffing about, the patient was given an injection that completely knocked him and his hands out for a while. In the meantime, the dentist scrabbled about his imaginary surgery like a headless chicken looking for something else to inflict on his patient as the audience laughed along.
Host Vladimirs ‘Cool Cat’ Krumins eventually walked in to the scene waving his hands like a referee just before the dentist, with his maniac hands, could start doing things to the patient as he slept. Jackson pulled his fingers out of Gurney’s stretched gob.
Amanda Richards, the only female performer, was rested for this particular game and looked on from the sidelines probably thinking how lucky she was not to be involved. Soon after, Daryl Jackson disappeared for a quite a while so I wouldn’t be surprised if Gurney has tummy trouble this week but that’s show business, as they say!
The carnage in the dental surgery was just one of the twelve games that the five comedians had to perform. ‘Cool Cat’ Krumins picked the performers for each game and told them what to do. The games ranged from operatic sign-singing about an audience member’s job (it took a while to find someone) to a house party where Jason Sharpe had to guess who the guests were pretending to be.
During that game, Gurney slapped people’s hands down every time they signed, Sands ran away from any human contact, Richards just wanted to watch the telly, drink beer and celebrate while Jackson had trouble getting Shape’s attention to even gain access to the imaginary house. He kept ringing that invisible doorbell and peering through those invisible windows but, while all hell broke loose inside, confused Jason forgot about Jackson waiting outside. More laughter.
Once most of the Improv Comedy crew departed from the after-show beers, I asked my mum if she’d come along again. ‘Yes, of course’ she said with complete certainty; and I think most people would say the same.
You can find out more about Improv Comedy here. Pictures by PRS Photography
By Andy Palmer, Deputy Editor. Andy also volunteers for the Peterborough and District Deaf Children’s Society on their website, deaf football coaching and other events. Contact him on twitter @LC_AndyP
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