The OK Stop team present their comedy stage show as if we are watching a VHS tape, using a title suggested by the audience. Whenever a cast member calls out “OK Stop”, the action on-stage pauses and the audience are given two choice for how they think the scene should continue. A quick cheer battle decides the winner, and “OK Play” takes us back to the performance. Similarly, at any time the cast may shout “OK Rewind”, allowing the story to flash back to an earlier point in the narrative to better explain what is going on, and “OK Fast Forward” allows us to skip past any boring or awkward elements to keep the story going. This is a fantastic concept for an improv show. It is obvious to the audience at all times where we are in the story & what is going on, and the improvisers are free to move forwards and backwards in time and keep asking the audience for their input to ensure they get the show they want to see.
In this performance the title chosen was “The Revenge Of The Spork”, a tale of two inventors and a broken family told by the piece of cutlery that connected their lives. The inventors, Hans and Hans, had created a new type of spork (played by Charlie) which was proving less popular than hoped. The only real fan was a young collector of sporks (Cat Turner), an interest derived from the fact that her genes made her boring. We flashed back to the day the doctor diagnosed the boring gene had been passed on from the mother (Lyndsay Evans) to the daughter, causing her father (Max Thomas) to leave the family home to avoid a boring life. Back in the present day, a sudden illness brought the family back together again, with medical care by the doctor who had made the original boring diagnosis (Tom Clabon). With the doctor’s return came the revelation that it was not the mother but the father who had been the source of the boring gene. Once the medical crisis passed, resolved using the previously-unpopular spork, the daughter left her mother behind to live a fulfilling and boring life with her father.
This is a very witty show, with lots of intelligent humour throughout. The best example of this came early on, with Tom describing the rejected spork as “made by two Hans, used by no Hans”. The line that made the audience laugh the most was a more honest, emotional moment where the exasperated mother was arguing with her daughter and cried out “I don’t hate you, I just find you boring”. Further emotion was added by Charlie’s spork, including a speech about her ancestors – lost in time and all broken now – which gained a genuine “awww” from the crowd. My favourite bits were those unguarded moments where we got a little insight into the performers themselves. One memorable example was Max saying a spoon tasted vindictive, something that made perfect sense at that point in the cutlery-themed show and something I cannot imagine any other person saying. Another time this happened was during the operation to save the daughter, where Cat briefly forgot her character was anaesthetised and Lyndsay gently shushed her back to sleep. With their killer format, OK Stop are bound to generate more and more laughs in the future.
OK Stop perform at Birmingham’s 1000 Trades on the last Wednesday of each month.