Best/Worst Improvisers?

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Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by HStorm » Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:36 pm

As KM is interactive drama, the cast had to be able to think on their feet, to react to what the dungeoneers would say to them, and to drive conversations in the direction demanded by the plot without making scenes sound unnatural. Which actors and actresses in the series do you think were best and worst at this?
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Re:Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by Helvellyn » Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:49 pm

Mark Knight was great in that, as he was in everything he did in Knightmare.

Barry's (in)famous Season 7 quest managed to get Sylvester Hands in a spot of confusion, but that could probably have happened to any actor who'd run into Barry on form!

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Re:Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by HStorm » Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:03 pm

Agreed. I also thought Mary Miller, Tom Karol and Michael Cule had a really good knack for interaction.

At the bad end of the scale, I thought Iona Kennedy and Juliet Henry-Massey were often caught out. Especially unnatural were some of Kennedy's attempts to redirect the scene toward the story when playing Greystagg.
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Re:Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by Naitch » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:42 am

Interesting question!

I would have to agre and say that Mark Knight and Michael Clue were the best and improvising.

I would also have to agree that Iona Kenneday and Juliet Henry-Massey were among the worst.

I never really liked the Gwendoline character much anyway.

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Re:Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by Pooka » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:08 pm

Stephanie Hesp was very good at improvising, especially when playing Elita. I think that team she indirectly "killed" (by taking their gem and not giving any help in return) was basically the result of her thinking on her feet when they took far too long to decide.
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Re:Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by Naitch » Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:22 am

Of course!

That WAS a good bit of Knightmare.

Yup, add Stephanie Hesp to my list as well...

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Re: Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by Canadanne » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:42 pm

Best - agree with Mark Knight and Michael Cule. I thought Jacquelin Joyce had some good moments too, although she also had an unfortunate habit of stumbling over her words. Paul Valentine showed flashes of genius, particularly as Sly. Oh, and Rayner Bourton. :)

Worst - agree that Iona Kennedy struggled a bit (see her blank hesitation when Barry asks to learn some magic in Sidriss' class), but the worst offender for me was Anthony Donovan as Grimaldine. Whenever the dungeoneers said anything unexpected, he just stared at them silently! Perhaps he was being intentionally mysterious, but it was very dull and annoying to watch, and left me wondering if he just couldn't think of anything to say in response.

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Re: Re:Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by Bumptious » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:50 am

Pooka wrote:Stephanie Hesp was very good at improvising, especially when playing Elita. I think that team she indirectly "killed" (by taking their gem and not giving any help in return) was basically the result of her thinking on her feet when they took far too long to decide.
I've often wondered about that. Was it an "on the spot" decision from Ms. Hesp, or was it a result of Tim Child hissing into her earpiece, as he marked the dithering dimwits' quest as "losing"? I'd love to believe it was the former, but I wouldn't have thought a cast member could make a decision.

Back to topic, I agree that Michael Cule was one of the best. I also think Hugo Myatt could improvise with the best of them, it must have been tricky at times coming up with responses to some of the more curious witterings of the teams that played the game. Can't really think of anyone who sticks out as being the worst improviser, i'll come back to that one!

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Re: Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by Mystara » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:30 am

I don't believe that a cast member would have had the authority to make such a decision.

That said, I've always found that particular death somewhat odd. The team don't seem to be unnecessarily cautious.
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Re: Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by BBrooks » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:59 pm

I had a Series 1 to 3 marathon, a few years back and I remember spotting some good and bad improviser's in that. I'll have to start watching Series 4 to 8 from the start again as I've not seen them in quite a bit.

As for the presenting, the partnership of Hugo Myatt and David Learner (for me) was the best, they had a great rapport on-screen, Hugo was great at ad-libbing lines off the cuff and David was excellent at physical comedy as well as improvising.
Hugo's lines were re-used a lot in Series 1 and the intro's and outro's were pretty much the same throughout. It was the same for most of David's lines in Series 4, I'm so glad that they were given more of a free reign as they went on.

I'd have to say that Lawrence Werber, Edmund Dehn, Mary Miller, Paul Valentine, Clifford Norgate, Tom Karol, Michael Cule, Mark Knight, Stephanie Hesp, Rayner Bourton and Cliff Barry were among the best of the in-dungeon improviser's.

I remember a scene in Series 2 where Mildread was talking and the Dungeoneer was talking over her at the same time and she stopped and shouted out "WHAT!". For some reason, that just made me laugh.

Stephanie Hesp was a good reactor and ad-libber, who can forget the classic "You're the Face-ache" line, her reaction was priceless and well acted. I also love how David Learner slip's out of the character for a few seconds and has a chuckle over it.

It's a bit unfair to call someone the worst improviser, as some were more quicker on the uptake than other's. If I had to choose though I'd say Adrian Neil and Juliet Henry-Massey.

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Re: Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by leeroymukabgede » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:03 pm

Lord Fear really was very good. very entertaining in a very english way. overacting to great effect. :P

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Re: Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by Mystara » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:23 pm

I think Mark Knight was definitely my favourite actor in terms of improvisation.

There are certain scenes, particularly as Rothberry, where he responds so quickly to something that the dungeoneer said. He's clearly a very fast thinker, or an excellent roleplayer ;)
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Re: Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by Kieran » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:41 pm

Mark Knight wins the Improviser of the Year award from me, for sure. He could think up a good line at lightspeed, and this is evident throughout all of his characters.

Clifford Norgate never slipped up, and Paul Valentine, especially as Sly Hands (and especially with Barry's team) was always quick to react to what was going on.

As for Anthony Donovan, I do believe he was trying to be a little..mysterious. But it doesn't come out all the well on screen, and indeed sometimes seems he is just waiting for the dungeoneer/team to say the correct keyword before he could continue.

Iona Kennedy certainly seemed to struggle at times, especially in the Barry scene. There again, he wasn't the easiest of dungeoneers!

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Re: Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by Bumptious » Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:22 pm

Yep, I also think Anthony Donovan was playing his character in a way which made you think he was a falsehood away from insanity. I don't think his vacant manner was to do with a lack of improvisational skill.

I've done a bit of thinking about the "worst" improvisors, and all I can think of are the two warden girls, Jacqueline Joyce and Juliet Henry-Massy. Not to say that they were bad, I would have thought good improvisational skills were a must for anyone trying to get a job on a show like Knightmare, I just think they could appear a bit discombobulated when confronted with a tricky dungeoneer.

On a more positive note, I can recall some good impros from the years. A good one was in series four when, I think it was Dickon's quest, when Hordriss was in the room, and the advisers were mumbling about a "give the dog a bone" clue, and Hordriss was none too impressed. "You call me a DOG!" Another good one was in series 2, when Gretel asked a dungeoneer whether he thought she was beautiful. The dungeoneer honestly replied that he could see to offer an honest opinion, due to the fact he was blinded by the Helmet of Justice. Gretel's response was brilliant; "You should know from the sound of my voice that i'm pretty!" That, and the cute little foot-stomp that accompanied it were very quick off the mark, in my opinion.

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Re: Best/Worst Improvisers?

Post by Bumptious » Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:28 pm

Mystara wrote:I don't believe that a cast member would have had the authority to make such a decision.

That said, I've always found that particular death somewhat odd. The team don't seem to be unnecessarily cautious.
The funny thing about that particular team, was that the girl in the middle was authorative to the point of rudeness, and quite frequently made snide comments to the lad on her left, or just ignored him full stop. Ironically enough, during the fateful scene with Elita, he firmly insisted that they shouldn't give the Elven cowslip the ruby, whilst his bossy friend was adamant that they should. Perhaps she did the right thing to disregard her chum throughout the quest!

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