Nic Wright

Edinburgh Fringe review: The Horne Section’s Question Sessions

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The Horne Section have become something of a fixture at the Edinburgh Fringe in the past few years, and this summer they return with a new show.

Not content with the fusion of improvisation, comedy, music and audience games under their belts, the outfit can now add quizmasters to their CVs with The Horne Section’s Question Sessions.

Pitting two guest comics against each other in a series of increasingly ridiculous rounds, Alex Horne and his band of musicians once again illustrate why they are one of the festival’s most treasured and reliable shows.

This year plying their trade in the rafters of The Gilded Balloon, The Horne Section’s Question Sessions is built on the same principles that have marked out The Horne Section as one of comedy’s most joyous and inventive acts.

With rounds including audience member Battleships, songwriting and an amalgamation of several TV quiz formats,  guests compete for fruit, which is weighed at the end to determine a winner. An unpredictable and  breathless show, pausing only for brief gags and hilarious musical interlude, the challenges become increasingly physical and outrageous, much to the delight of the crowd.

While too often musical comedy fails to excel in either of its composite parts, The Horne Section continues to be the best of both, with the bands’ musical talents overshadowed only by their keen improvisational skills and warm repartee with Horne.

The only downside to the new format is that Horne and his band take a backseat to the quiz itself, and as a result the show relies more heavily on the guests to provide the entertainment. This high-energy farce requires comics to be sharp and gung-ho; the better the guests, the more lively and engaging the show. At tonight’s final installment of Question Sessions, well-intentioned Fred Macaulay takes on a distracted Jimeoin, who provides both some of the night’s most entertaining and frustrating moments.

With the guest comics vying for attention, and a number of high-concept rounds to rattle through, at times the show threatens to slip beyond gleeful organized chaos, but Horne’s innate charm and quick wit manage to keep it on track, making for a dynamic and jubilant end to a day at the Fringe.


Date of live review: Saturday 29 August @ Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh

Click to read all our 2015 Edinburgh Fringe coverage.