Venue: theSpace @Surgeons Hall
Blind Mirth, St Andrew’s oldest and wisest improv comedy troupe, have returned to Fringe with a fiery group of performers, whose quick-wit and spontaneity makes for a great show. Despite the lengthy period off stage endured by most this year, the group brought a hearty pre-pandemic energy, which quickly cut through the gaps between the socially distanced chairs and filled the room with an energetic buzz.
Taking on a tried and tested improv format, the group of seven launches straight into a quick fire round of short improv games, followed by both mid and long form performance acts created purely from audience suggestions. Any lockdown-enhanced audience participation fear is swiftly broken by a hearty, well-led warmup, which had us shouting something about Oprah and joining together for a very therapeutic group scream. For a slightly awkward mid-afternoon slot, Blind Mirth does incredibly well to bolster up the crowd. Participation was strongly encouraged, with any and all suggestions being seized with endearing, if not occasionally quizzical, smiles.
Collectively, the group excelled at the short form. Individually all very funny people, they fired out one-liners in rapid succession and bounced off each other with a well-practised ease. Whilst occasionally the rules of the game seemed lost to audience and performer alike, they remained entertaining throughout, moving warmly past any slight hiccups. For instance, in a bid to hasten the guessing of a slightly meandering scene set in a dildo factory, one group member helpfully phoned in with the memorable line, “Do you need any dill, Dido?” Sure enough, the slightly frazzled group member doing the guessing was quick to seize on the hint and momentum was soon regained. The strong teamwork of the group was further apparent in the long performance, which was improvised entirely on the spot using cues shouted out from the audience. Inevitably, this led to a bewildering combination of people, places and objects, and yet a remarkably coherent performance emerged.
With the show changing every night based on the suggestions of the audience, it is the warmth of the ensemble that deserves most merit, and it is such warmth that makes this a group surely worth coming back to see again.
Aug 14, 16:05
Image credits: Blind Mirth