Improv at the Edinburgh Fringe

There are now seven members of the MissImp performance team at the Edinburgh Fringe.  Two are doing various stand-up open spots, three are in the play we’ve taken up (HR’d Day’s Night) and the rest are here taking in shows and liberal quantities of ‘social time’.

Yesterday we were talking semi-seriously about doing an impromptu show.  Maybe we will, but in the meantime we’ve seen some great improv up here.

David Shore and some of his students are performing Harolds at 1.45pm at Sin Club and Lounge on Cowgate in “A Good Improv Show“.  Nick, Geoff and I recently saw David do a one-man Harold which was really breathtaking and I couldn’t help thinking that would be a great act to take to the Fringe.  This year, however, he is showcasing some really talented students.  There were some lovely game moves in the scenes and several real stand-out performers.  It made me feel excited that there was more great longform improv happening in the UK.  There are pockets of it springing up in all sorts of places, it seems.

I also caught a great shortform show with Nick, Dan, Marilyn and Carl called “Battle Acts”.  This was at Three Sisters in Cowgate and was a great education in physicality – even when you have a small stage.  MissImp is a group that excels in verbosity over physicality so there was much for us to learn watching these guys.  It was well compered, high energy stuff with some great reworking of some of the shortform games we know and love.

I’m saving the best, however, for last.  Last year I came to the Fringe knowing Baby Wants Candy only by reputation.  I was blown away by everything they did.  It seemed like magic, even to someone who had done some longform improv study.  I was hooked.  I saw them both Sunday night and last night and their scene work, their songs, their group mind… everything is so spot-on it would almost be irritating were it not so captivating and entertaining.

Five of us in MissImp have seen them before, but it was Dan’s first time.  It’s fair to say he was blown away.  Like the improv nerd I am, I was taking notes, trying to work out structure (seems to me like a Harold without the group games, and songs to highlight the game / theme of the scene).  My frantic scribbles were brief, however, because I didn’t want to miss a moment.  Last night’s rap about how white cows can’t dance was the highlight of the show for most of us, I think.

If you’re coming to the Fringe there’s plenty of improv to check out.  In fact, it’s the most improv you’ll get to see in one place, anywhere in the UK between now and August 2012.

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