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REVIEW: Austentatious (West End)

Updated: May 2

The Arts Theatre, London

6 March 2023


Austentatious (London, West End)

Austentatious are an improv group made up of some of the finest comic actors in the land. Each Monday at The Arts Theatre in London's West End they perform a lost Jane Austen novel - and the show is made up on the spot.

The name of the novel comes from audience suggestions. I've seen Austentatious 3 times now and I'm determined to have one of mine performed. (I have 5 titles ready to go. They are very much from Jane's largely unknown 'horror' period. One day I may even be brave enough to shout them out!)

At this show we had "Liars and Liability'. Unforgettable characters including Miss Celery and Lord Wrong'un were seemingly created from nowhere.

The cast not only work together to weave an hilarious tale, they sometimes (often) make things difficult for their fellow cast members by putting them in awkward situations.

The cast of Austentatious

The phenomenal cast includes Amy Cooke-Hogdson, Rachel Parris, Cariad Lloyd, Charlotte Gittins, Daniel Nils Roberts, Graham Dickson, Joseph Morpurgo and Lauren Shearing.

There will be around 6 of the cast at any given performance. They are all very funny and very clever. And brave!! How terrifying to stand on a stage and not know what's going to happen for the next 2 hours.

Each story comes with musical accompaniment. Normally a violin player, but I'm sure I remember a cello at one show and I've also heard rumour of a pianist.

Basically, by booking to see Austentatious you never know what you are going to get. You are guaranteed a story in the style of Jane Austen improvised on the night. It will be silly, funny and gloriously clever. There will be lovely period costumes and beautiful music. But beyond that, no-one knows!

It's a show that you can see time and time again, as no two shows are ever the same.

I don't know how they do it, but they never fail.

Mr Darcy, Graham Dickson from Austentatious and Lisa in the Theatre

I have such a soft spot for this group. They deserve so much respect and recognition for their talents. I'll hopefully see them at Edinburgh Fringe again later in the year.

NB: Did I mention that you can have your picture taken with a cardboard Graham Dickson in the Arts Theatre bar? Swoon!

[Review first posted on Instagram 14 March 2023]


Austentatious - review, London, West End. Theatre, Improv Comedy, Jane Austen.

🎟️ Disclosure: I was invited to review this show and received a complimentary ticket in exchange. Neither the venue nor show has a say in what I write. I'm completely independent and invites have no impact on my analysis or star ratings.

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Lisa in the Theatre, UK Theatre blog, reviewer.


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