16 Jul 2024
‘Lost in Translation’: the improv comedy show
Creative Arts Culture What's on: Stockholm

‘Lost in Translation’: the improv comedy show

Does the experience of living in Sweden feel overwhelming, confusing and frustrating sometimes? Turns out you’re not alone!


Josh Lenn, American actor and ‘love refugee’, moved to Sweden 5 years ago. Like most foreigners, he was presented with many challenges, as well as amazing experiences.  He became fascinated with the idea of being an expat in Sweden. Well, who wouldn’t?!

“It is a very unique experience because Sweden is such a small country with strong social norms”.

So what would any LA actor worth his salt do? Why, put on a show of course!

Not just any show, but an improv comedy show, since it provides a fantastic vehicle to both laugh at cultural differences, as well as understand them.

Lost in Translation has been performing for full houses since it opened, fall 2012, and has been extended three times. Lost in Translation is back this autumn with ten new shows at Improvisation & Co. in Odenplan. The show has also been invited to perform in the Lund Humor Festival this August.

The show is completely improvised and driven by audience suggestion. The audiences have been extremely diverse hosting people from 15 to 20 different countries every show. All audience members are encouraged to offer inspiration to the actors revolving around Sweden and often relationships between Swedes and foreigners.

The second act is a long form, which means the improvisers play one long improvised story, and the story is different every time. The show works with the romantic comedy genre and strives to be true to the experience of being in love in Sweden, and the obstacles love has to overcome.



Friday, 23rd August 2013 at 19:00

Friday, 6th September 2013 at 19:00

Friday, 13th September 2013 at 19:00

Friday, 20th September 2013 at 19:00

Friday, 11th October 2013 at 19:00

Friday, 25th October 2013 at 19:00

Friday, 11th November 2013 at 19:00

Friday, 29th November 2013 at 19:00
Friday, 6th December 2013 at 19:00
Friday, 14th December 2013 at 19:00


Where: Hagagatan 48, 11347 Stockholm, Sweden


Tickets: 200 SEK – Book them here!


Director: Josh Lenn

Cast: Veronica Bergström, Jenny Björk, Josh Lenn, Maria Lindberg, Katarina Wahlberg and Robert Weitz.

Music: Maria Olofsson

Improvisation & Co. is Sweden’s only international improv comedy club.
Grab a table with friends, have a drink and enjoy the show in an environment where you can’t help but have fun!


  • Len Villasenor 11 Dec 2012

    In the summer of 2006 during my first year in Sweden I decided to take an intensive Swedish course during a time when Folksuniversitet was still located downtown near Hötorget. Our teacher was going over the conjugation for the Swedish verb FÅ (to receive). Wanting to make friends, I invited two classmates a British and a German, to come with me for a coffee Break. There was at that time an outside coffee cart across from what used to be PUB. Using the Swedish I just learned I said. “Kan jag få en kaffe latte?” She gave me FOUR lattes. Thinking I must have made a mistake, I paid for the three extra coffees that I did not order and gave one to the German one to the British guy and brought one back for the teacher. I asked her if I had made a mistake and she said “No. That silly barista was just thinking you were talking in English not Swedish because you are foreign.” The next day the three of us returned to coffee cart and laughed with the Swedish girl about the misunderstanding. To make up for the mistake, she offered us those Swedish buns with a distinct thick yellow vanilla creme in the center. I said what do you call these? She said, “farfar slem,” with a giggle. I asked our teacher what the translation was and she made a very sour face….”Grandpa’s phlegm”….disgusting, ” she said. I laughed at the sheer gumption of that Swedish barista. My German friend said, “In Germany we would probably call that Oysters for the Underclass.” My British friend just raised an eyebrow and looked at me.

  • Shwetha Kashyap 11 Dec 2012

    It’s not so common to see nappy changing signs on the men’s restrooms in other parts of the world. I am new to Sweden and recently I almost walked into men’s restroom by glancing at nappy changing sign on the restroom door. As I was about to enter I looked at the next door to know that that was actually women’s restroom and even that had a nappy changing sign! I reached the other door and saved myself from embarrassment that day 🙂 But just as I was drying my hands in women’s restroom a Swede and his kid engrossed in a deep discussion walked into the restroom!! Though I gave them an understanding look, they rushed out saying “sorry sorry” and yes, I saw them check the door sign as they headed to the next door. 🙂

  • Brett Hamilton 11 Dec 2012

    My wife and I pointing out to the coffee shop owner that she had the Small medium and large mixed up… IE she had S with the big cup, L with the little cup, Then we realised that Stor mellan and liten are abbreviated as S M and L.

  • Sarah BV 11 Dec 2012

    I would like to think my Swedish is decent, as I’ve been here for almost 8 years. Last year I was at the doctor during my last pregnancy trying to describe that due to some pelvis problems, I had difficulty walking and was trying to say I had trouble just going over there, but in Swedish, to use the words ‘went’- ‘gick’ and ‘over there’-‘bort’ and putting them together without some extra adjectives, can sound like you are saying ‘I died’. I got a really strange look from the doctor and realized I had told him in Swedish that ‘I just tried to walk over there and I died’! No wonder he gave me a funny look 🙂

  • Nina Wahlberg 11 Dec 2012

    When we moved to Sweden, I sort of had a decent level of passive Swedish as we’ve been hanging out with Swedish friends a lot, but had never actually spoken the language. We bought an apartment and decided to renovate the kitchen, and as hubby was working at the time and I wasn’t, I stayed at home when the (Swedish-speaking) builders came. We went through the plan of where all the cabinets and appliances were to be installed, and I also wanted to give them specific directions on where to install the kitchen fan. I stumbled out my instructions, and – with all the focus on trying to sound smart – mixed up some words and kept calling the fan “fläsk” (“pork”) instead of “fläkt”. You have to admit the two words are pretty much alike!! “I’d like you to install the pork at about this height, 50cm above the stove and centered in between the cabinets…” Needless to say that they never corrected my mistake and I kept talking pork until the pork was properly installed and working. I’m sure they must’ve had a laugh whenever I left the room! 🙂

  • Emma Johnson 11 Dec 2012

    To start, I’m guilty of putting fil on my cereal. Thought it was milk when I first arrived here!

    I was 10 weeks pregnant when I moved to Sweden and the great plan was to learn Swedish whilst not working. I attended SFI right up to 36 weeks pregnant, so by that time you would think I was fluent.

    Well, one day on the ttunnelbana, I was trying to practice my listening skills, I listened and I listened until I turned to my husband and said ‘it’s no good, I can’t understand a word they are saying’. He looked at me, not sure if he felt sorry for me or just thought I was stupid. He replied ‘that’s because they are French’ Doh

  • Mayu Polo Wieja 12 Dec 2012

    my first day at work in Sweden. I found it strange how people seemed to be calling each other “moron”. At my work people often communicate in English so I thought maybe it was some inside joke. Of course it didn’t take me long that they were just using the lazy form of godmorgon. 🙂

  • Chantel 12 Dec 2012

    When I was learning Swedish we had a day out to the parliament and all had to meet at Gamla Stan tube. So there I was stood under this lovely Xmas SL tube sign. Bored I translated it and was horrified to read ‘it’s cold, it’s winter, expect sex in the tube!’

    What it actually said was ‘ it’s cold, it’s winter, expect queues in the tube’

    I’d confused ‘kön’ with sex instead of ”the queue’

    Not before I’d announced my disgust……

  • Cassandra 13 Dec 2012

    This isn’t so much as a language problem as a cultural experience. My husband is Swedish, and so when we were getting married we decided to have our wedding here. His sisters were my bridesmaids and so excited to throw my bachelorette party. I said no wet t-shirt contests or body shots, but something fun and tasteful. Well, no one warned me about the costumes here are meant to be embarrassing while back home the brides costume is usually a wedding dress type deal, or something meant to make her look sexy.

    I got blindfolded, and led into my now sister-in-laws bedroom to be dressed in my surprise costume. When I opened my eyes they had dressed me in a cow costume! I thought my soon to be sister in laws must hate me and I ran into the bathroom sobbing thinking my new family hated me, i was in a country i didn’t know anyone, and they decided to haze me at my own party!

    They apologized profusely for the misunderstanding, because apparently farm animals, or baby costumes, are par for the course when it comes to getting married here. I ditched the costume though and we had a fun girls night out at Grona Lund.

  • Val 14 Dec 2012

    aside from stopping complete strangers in the grocer to explain the difference btwn the milks and flours, and me taking a month to figure out which yogurt to buy (not in cups here, surprise!) i jumped four feet in the air and almost had a heart attack the first time i heard the Swedish sharp gasp of air inwards when agreeing with something i just said. i thought there was a bird eating spider eating my face off or something just as terrifying.

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