Heather Urquhart and Jules Munns are two of the best improvisers in the UK. Heather is a member of the Olivier-award-winning Showstoppers and has won the UK Improv Smackdown championship. Jules is a director of Impromptu Shakespeare and founder of the Slapdash International Improv Festival. Both perform regularly with The Maydays and run the Nursery improv theatre in central London. With performers as good as this, you know you are in for a treat.
Heather & Jules introduce the show by asking everyone to close their eyes and think about what real-life stories pop into their minds when they hear the words “first kiss”, “the one” and “the one that got away”. In this show one audience member told the story of a break-up in a Waterstones cafe, chosen as a location since neither party was likely to go back there, and another told how he knew his best friend was destined for heartbreak in the near future. Using this inspiration, the pair created a series of scenes exploring these facets of love, along with other bits of silliness along the way. We saw two university students at the end of their romantic relationship, met a newly married couple moving in to their own Disney-like castle, and got to know the staff at Waterstones who eavesdropped on all the heart-to-heart conversations in their cafe.
There was lots to enjoy in this one hour show. Each scene revealed a little bit more about the characters involved, and indeed a little bit more about love, as each person we met was at a different point in their love lives. It was impressive to see the two performers fill the stage with multiple characters in the same scene, including swapping roles so that both Heather and Jules portrayed the same character at different points in the story. The joyful silly sequences got the biggest laughs and cheers, with the highlight in this performance being the convoluted routine involved in opening the castle doors. But the real heart of this show is in the quiet moments when we see genuine emotion, an intimate and honest portrayal of the many sides of love.
Ten Thousand Million Love Stories can be seen at theatre festivals across the UK.