Edinburgh Fringe Review: This Is Soap

Members of the buoyant and ebullient C Theatre are on call every lunchtime to bring you the next installment in their completely improvised soap opera made daily by you, the audience. Silly and surreal – as all improv should be – it’s a bundle of fun for any afternoon.

The cast are capable and confident and fill their space well. Action is split between the living room, the pub (you’re barred!), and the “caff”, where anything could happen. Props are often and arbitrary, and revelations await at every blackout. One of the cast members doubles as the host-cum-compere brandishing a clipboard (authority!), and does an excellent job of revving up the energy from the start. Suggestions for titles, characters and scenarios are taken and then we’re off, thrust in the deep end from yesterday’s episode. We’ve got no clue what’s gone on before; they’ve no idea what’ll happen now.

Ad breaks intersperse the action, at which point we flick over to This Is Soap’s Little Soap – where we find more improv games, interviews with past cast members and much much more. There’s live piano accompaniment to help with the atmosphere and give us the hint that it’s a massive Eastenders rip-off, in case we hadn’t already cracked that.

As an improvisation troupe the C Theatre members perhaps aren’t quite tight enough yet. The ad break improv games are a nice idea but slightly derivative of old school acts like the Comedy Store players, which now seem a little hackneyed. The audience suggestions for episode title and theme (so painstakingly laboured over!) didn’t really have any bearing on the development of the action. However, it would be churlish to find much fault with this. The C folks may not be as technically accomplished as other acts out there, but they are having a lot of fun, and so are we. It’s a light, innocuous, feel-good hour of laughs – nothing new, but lots to enjoy nevertheless.

**** – 4/5 Stars

This Is Soap is playing at C at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until 27th August. For more information and tickets, see the Edinburgh Fringe website.

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