Reviewer: Selwyn Knight
The Public Reviews Rating:
To Be Continued…are an international trio of improvisers based in Edinburgh and originally formed in 2009. Their show, Absolute Improv! follows the usual routine for such shows: a series of games with suggestions from the audience and some audience participation. Unfortunately, they can only be as good as the audience’s suggestions, and these were sadly lacking in quality tonight. In addition, the introduction was laboured and a couple of games really dragged. For example, in one game an improviser left the room to return as a game show contestant. In his absence, the audience were asked to provide a home, job and prize for him (after much hard work, Norfolk, taxi driver and a banana on a hill were provided).
However, on his return and despite the best efforts of his colleagues, including gradually less cryptic and increasingly obvious clues, he floundered as he tried to identify them. Whilst his discomfort was initially the source of great merriment, it was allowed to continue for too long and became tedious. Indeed, by the time he guessed Norfolk, one could be forgiven for having completely forgotten his occupation. In another game in which audience volunteers had to provide ‘missing words’, the quality of the suggestions was so poor that the performers failed to squeeze anything vaguely funny from them.
There were a couple of games with real potential, although neither worked particularly well tonight. One involves two performers playing a single expert and having to speak simultaneously. Their efforts to both speak and listen to each other and make some semblance of sense meant that this game really has the potential to be very good. The final game, in which they need to pass on information between themselves via spoken gobbledook and mime was easily the most entertaining, not least for the strange ideas the guessing performers subsequently gave.
Of course, improvised shows, by their nature, vary in quality from performance to performance. Despite the poor quality of audience participation tonight, what is clear is that this group has considerable potential if they can address the occasional weaknesses in pace.