Edinburgh Fringe review: Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised
Due to the popularity of shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway?, short-form improv seems to be a much more common beast at the Fringe than long-form. As standard bearers for the latter, the boys making up Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised are a great demonstration of the magic that can only come through long-form improvisation.
Upon entry, each player is already in position, completely in character and interacting with each other and audience members finding seats. A butler offers you a Starburst on a silver platter before the story begins, a glimpse into the nature of the tale you are about to see. Refined, sweet and ultimately well wrapped up.
The players themselves are superb actors and orators. The nature of the show allows them to create recurring characters early and develop them throughout the show. Despite the surreal nature of the audience suggested story, the boy are on their toes at all times and are always able to remember character names, previously spoken dialogue and create running jokes. This adds so much to the show as it creates a genuinely solid narrative to what is a completely silly and off the cuff performance.
There are no weak links in this troop who share a delightful chemistry as they occasionally break the fourth wall to great effect to highlight a misstep from their fellow cast members or acknowledge the audience and the limitations of their set. This being a family friendly show, it says a lot about the quick wit of this crew that they can fill an hour of improvised festival comedy while staying well out of the gutter.
The musical accompaniment offered is also completely improvised by a musician surrounded by potential instruments which he uses to create an atmosphere, drive the players forward with musical direction or provide a rousing soundtrack. In addition to this, a very competent tech at the back with clear experience of the boys comic timing is in control of dimming the houselights to end scenes and does so at the perfect time regularly.
This is a supremely impressive show. There are no five-minute games and regular audience suggestions, it’s an initial suggested set-up then 50 minutes or so of brilliantly unique improv, as a whole world is created and filled with hilarious characters. Don’t miss it.
Date of live review: 17 August 2014 @ Upstairs, Pleasance Courtyard