Comedy Culture Festival Fringe Theatre

The Improverts — Review

Venue: theSpace @ Symposium Hall (Garden Theatre)

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Edinburgh University Theatre Company’s long-running improvisation troupe The Improverts return once again to their Fringe residency, bringing a night of unscripted laughs to the Fringe crowd.

The Improverts provide their usual good quality improvisation. The show is heavily focused on audience suggestions, and the players deal with the chosen audience suggestions smoothly, even when the suggested subject matter is not known in detail by the players. Their ability to read each other’s cues and latch onto a potentially stronger improvisational route within a scene is notable.

The audience-led nature of certain improvisation games can lead to complicated challenges for the players, who must adapt quickly to new suggestions, particularly in the classic ‘Should’ve Said’ game. The audience is given free rein to redirect the course of the improvisation, often multiple times in a row for a single player. It is clear that the players are well-oiled in their techniques for navigating the material provided to them on the spot, and the results are entertaining.

In the moments where the exit from a scene appears difficult to find, the players successfully navigate their way out and receive deserved applause. On this point, the show is well-received by a lively audience in a packed house. In a Fringe year where many productions are performing shorter runs than usual, the Improverts’ commitment to a marathon of nightly shows for nearly the full length of the festival is a commendable service to the Fringe audience.

While in no way diminishing the performance itself, on a technical note the production would benefit from increased amplification. Though the musical interludes are audible, the players’ dialogue can get lost for those seated further back in the fairly deep auditorium. The open-air nature of the venue means ambient noise is quite high, and it would be a shame if the quality of the performances on stage were lost for this reason.

Overall, The Improverts return to the Fringe as strong as ever. The ability of the players to turn a multitude of situations into comedy is impressive. As the players themselves note, the improvisation differs each night, so the content will of course vary. However, their performance on review night suggests that they will exhibit the same level of skill in their further performances throughout the Fringe.

Aug 6-28, 21:05, £8.00
Image credits: Amy Witney Scholes