Thursday, 13 August 2009

Fringe Review: Scratch - The Reduced Edinburgh Fringe Impro Show #edfringe

Pleasance Baby Grand 20:15

I suppose after doing reviews of the two shows I saw last night I should really back track and do the one I saw on the first night of the previews. After sweet talking the flyer for a bit I did manage to get tickets for myself, LYS President Ruaraidh Dobson and Kieran Leach to see an improvisation show.

Some people say you should never expect much if you've been given a free ticket, but then that is just how I got to see Michael McIntyre's first ever fringe show so I'm never that way inclined. The premise of the show is simple, one Fringe Festival programme is available for members of the audience to rip a page out of a circle a show they would like to see, but are sitting in a different venue. In fact if you want a grand tour of the fringe it is as good a way as any to take a high speed sightseeing tour, just don't expect the real things to bear any resemblance to what you may see in this show.

The Scratch team mix up the ways they set up the sketches, including one three parter that they will come back to throughout the night. Of course with improv one of the best ways to tell how good it is happens to be seeing how hard the performers themselves are trying to prevent themselves corpsing* just look at Peter Cooke making poor Dudley Moore crease up when he improvises. There were numerous times this lot were fighting to stay in the scene, if you colleagues don't quite see it coming despite setting you up it's good.

Even the keyboard player was bemused at some of the directions the sketches veered off in and often looked into the audience as perplexed or laughing as loud as the rest of us. Considering one of our party was being a grumpy guts, saying he'd walk out if it was no good, yet came away after staying the whole way and liking the show I think speaks volumes for the work these guys did.

Improv is hard but they did at times make it look effortless, at times darn awkward but their persevered, at times just downright funny, especially when imagined props were forgotten or transferred to another character.

*That is laughing on stage and breaking down the fourth wall of this being some bizarre reality.

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