The West End stage premiere of the classic comedy television show Whose Line is it Anyway? in London featuring some of the original TV stars and hosted by Clive Anderson returns in June 2016.
The original hit improvisational comedy is back again live on stage following last year's acclaimed sold out season. Once again the cast for Whose Line is it Anyway? in London will feature Colin Mochrie, Josie Lawrence Greg Proops and Brad Sherwood with special guest and is hosted by Clive Anderson. Created and directed for the stage by Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson. Based on an original format devised by Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson. Josie Lawrence's West End credits include Trevor Nunn's staging of Victoria Wood's musical Acorn Antiques at the Haymarket Theatre in 2005 and the role of 'Anna' in The King and I at the London Palladium in 2001. Dan Patterson's London stage writing credits include, with Colin Swash, The Duck House starring Ben Miller, Simon Shepherd and Diana Vickers at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2013.
When this production opened Bruce Dessau in the London Evening Standard highlighted how "this Channel 4 improvisation warhorse, making its very belated live debut, is as unpredictably hilarious as ever... The rapturous applause throughout underlined that there is a lot of love out there for them. They could not have got a warmer reception if they had scripted it." Claire Allfree in the Daily Telegraph explained that, "if you saw the original you won't be remotely baffled by the bonkers scenarios Mochrie and co find themselves heroically (and largely brilliantly) negotiating here... Some of the best skits riffed deliciously on the endearing incompetence of audience volunteers," though "the format starts to wear a bit thin at two hours: it might have been interesting to throw in a different guest performer each night to shake things up." Brian Logan in the Guardian thought that this "live version of the Channel 4 hit mainlines nostalgia, but backs it up with big laughs and a generous, unpretentious spirit... It's a great night out, an improvement on the telly version and a liberating celebration of how exhilarating life can be when we surrender control entirely." Dominic Maxwell in the Times asked: "So is this live resuscitation of the show that brought comedy improv to the masses — starting on Radio 4 in 1986, then Channel 4, before heading to America in the 1990s — just an exercise in nostalgia? Not a bit of it. Content will vary over the course of this week... Yet to judge from a consistently inventive, busy and often inspired opening night, this will remain one of the happiest shows in town," adding that "so, if the heart sinks at some of the audience’s suggested genres, the cast’s sheer speed and determination to avoid the obvious wins out... Not everything is a corker, but a really remarkable amount of it is."
"As the fun and games broke out, it was crystal clear that these punslingers and hostages to comic fortune were right on top of their game, with only Anderson prone to the odd endearing gaffe... Few genres can oscillate so violently between the giddy highs of the outright hilarious and the painful death that comes from falling flat on your face. Such are the trials of having to respond instantly to the largely unknown. Fortunately, when the joins showed and the whole shebang threatened to come crashing down, it was just as funny. The final musical, about an audience member who dreamed of being a pilot, didn't quite fly, but no one cared. The format felt as vital as ever - Whose Line's return is long overdue. In this age of anodyne 'impromptu' panel shows, it feels as welcome as a breath of fresh air in a methane chamber." The Mail on Sunday
Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson originally devised Whose Line is it Anyway? as a radio show which was aired for just one short season on BBC Radio 4 in 1988 before moving to television when it was broadcast on Channel 4 for a total of 10 series between 1988 and 1998. An American television version was broadcast on the ABC network from 1998 through to 2007 and was later revived on the CW television network from 2013 to the present day.
Whose Line is it Anyway? in London at the Adelphi Theatre opened on 20 June 2015 and closed on 5 July 2015, returned at London Palladium opened on 9 June 2016 and closed on 19 June 2016.