The Improverts, an Edinburgh University improv troupe, are the Fringe’s longest-running improv comedy act. Every night of the Fringe at half past midnight, they perform an audience-led show structured around a variety of improv games to an enthusiastic mix of fellow students and late-night festival-goers.
I must preface this review by reminding the reader that reviewing improvisational theatre is a bit pointless – the show does change every night. Or at least that’s the idea. Everyone’s experience of an improv show is different, and
even the style of humour often changes from night to night. What makes it even more difficult to review The Improverts is that their line-up of performers changes every night, with five different students taking on the challenge each time.
However, a reviewer might still comment on the performers’ energy, the tech involved and the audience reactions, and that is what I shall do. All five Improverts were full of energy and willingness to give the audience a good time. Though the need to introduce and explain each game halted the proceedings, they recovered each time with new-found vigour. The comedy was not stellar, though the performers showed ability to work with the weirdest and most creative audience suggestions, be that to set a scene in ‘Unicorn Land’ or act out a scene from a fictional film titled ‘What’s That Fish?’. When the circumstances were right and the five fully committed, some pretty hilarious
lines would emerge.
The tech helped the show enormously. The music that played between scenes, though deafeningly loud, kept the energy up and the audience motivated. In fact, the techies were improvising along with those onstage, creating smoke effects when a bonfire was being built, creating mood lighting for a romantic scene and more. Skilled and involved tech generally adds a whole new layer to a student show, and greatly improved this one.
The audience seemed to love the Improverts. It must be said that most of them were visibly tipsy (I mean most of the audience, of course), and that this show would probably be more enjoyable with a pint or two. However, I enjoyed it well-enough in a state of complete sobriety and would recommend this show as a fun and uncomplicated end to a long day of Fringe-going.
The Improverts are playing Bedlam Theatre until August 29th. For more information and tickets, see https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/improverts.