Improbable brings together the diverse and acclaimed talents of some of Britain's most highly imaginative theatre practitioners including founders and Artistic Directors Phelim McDermott, Lee Simpson and Julian Crouch.
Phelim, Julian and Lee had been working in theatre separately and together in various combinations for some years, and had successfully resisted the urge to formalize their relationship into a "theatre company". In the Autumn of 1996 they gave in and formed Improbable with producer Nick Sweeting.
Since then, the seven shows they have made as Improbable, 70 HILL LANE, ANIMO, LIFEGAME, CINDERELLA, COMA, SPIRIT and STICKY have established an international reputation for innovative, exciting, accessible theatre.
Improbable's work has been seen in the UK, the United States, Egypt, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Canada, Lebanon, Ireland and Holland. 70 HILL LANE has won several major awards including an OBIE for Outstanding Achievement in Off Broadway Theatre, the 1997 Time Out Award for Best Off West End Production, Best Performance at The Cairo International Theatre for Experimental Theatre and The Manchester Evening News Award for Best Fringe Production.
Improbable's shows have grown out of a way of working that means being prepared to create work by the seat of your pants and the skin of your teeth, stepping onstage before you are ready and allowing the audience to have an integral part in the creation of a show.
THE DEVIL AND MISTER PUNCH
A Collaboration between the Improbable Theatre and Pomegranate Arts
A New Work in Development by Julian Crouch
Both tragical and comical, beautiful and brutal, Punch and Judy is an ancient story of violence and conflict, beloved of children, feared by the faint of heart. Under the direction of Improbable Co-Artistic Director Julian Crouch, The Devil and Mister Punch will be played out by a company of actors, musicians, and wooden and paper mache players inspired by Gus White’s legendary set of figures, lovingly and loosely recreated by the Improbable team. This is a show that extends far beyond the physical constraints of a traditional Punch and Judy booth. In a world of dark funereal piano wood, curtains and candelabras, simultaneous tales are unleashed. The bit parts from the traditional show are extended and unfolded... the crocodile, the doctor, the judge, the sausages... each has a new tale, a love, or a loss, or a song... and in the process they become more than passing victims. As their stories intertwine they become main characters in themselves. And when Punch finally unleashes his fifteen minutes of mindless fury might we even shed a tear for our set of puppet players, as they are whacked around and slaughtered. And what of the Devil with his sophisticated layers of sin? Will Punch kill him too? And what of the puppeteers themselves? What exactly is happening back there behind the curtains?