You know you’re onto a winner when you’re laughing before you’ve even taken a seat. Upon entering for The Post Show, US comedy trio the Berserker Residents are already in full swing, finishing up the bombastic closing scene of their 6-hour tour-de-force Prodigal Father. We’re all late, and as the show’s cast, haunting Noh-style ghost included, bow out to applause, the troupe then turn to the audience inviting questions in what is now a post-show Q&A on a show we’ve but glimpsed.
The three hold microphones and sit on stalls like any other feedback session, however this one begins with ‘popcorning’, a technique encouraging us all to vocalise a word we feel encapsulates the entire six hours of Prodigal Father. With a set littered with clues of what may have happened, along with a hilarious programme given out beforehand, there is much ammunition in this free forum for the questions the skilled performers so eagerly invite.
When one woman for example asked about the fate of once co-star Julie, revealed in the programme to have been viciously attacked outside of the Super Fresh, the trio leap into action. Quickly assigning her parentage to a couple that were leaving the space for no reason I could rightly imagine – everyone else was in stitches. The group are just as deft with more open-ended questions too, always labouring to flesh out the backstory of Prodigal Father, helping its marathon running time feel more tangible and hilarious.
Along with these more random disruptions, there is a story of sorts. Seemingly pre-loaded sketches seem to work off cues but also feel organic and part of the individual experience of the show. The range is imaginative and dynamic and always played by the Berserker Residents with real aplomb and warmth. From a wrought childhood flashback to Vietnam, to even becoming trapped in the mind of another, the show works so well because it feels genuinely fresh in its absurdity, rather than merely wacky for its sake.
A poster in the lobby claims it, “is more Mighty Boosh than Boosh!” but that feels more a regional reassurance than accurate assessment. This is more Goon Show territory, a confident trio ploughing the depth of the obscure with one hand, whilst making a firm connection with its audience with another.
The Post Show is at the Assembly George Square Studios (Venue 17) until 25 August. For more information and tickets visit the Edinburgh Fringe website.