I've seen a lot of theatre sports in my time – but as far as improv shows go, I can honestly say this was up there with the best. The all-male line up, consisting of three performers (Michel Keane, Kiell Smith-Bynoe and Brendan Murphy) and a compere (Chris Eastwood), had me caught up in their enthusiasm from the moment they came bounding onto the stage. The hour-long show follows a simple formula, where suggestions are drawn from the audience, then used by the company within the structure of a series of improv games.
From the off, there was an easy rapport between the three performers, which translated into bucket-loads of entertainment on the stage. It also extended to the relationship with Eastwood, who did a great job of warming the audience up at the beginning of the show and then handling their ideas throughout.
It's a delight to see a team of improvisors cooperating rather than competing – in particular, rejecting the over-used technique of trumping the last person by making a joke at their expense. Instead they skilfully took from each other, made offers and built on the ideas given, creating some golden moments in the process. The portrayal of a care bear with haemorrhoids will stick in my mind, as will the wise unicorn giving advice to a child about his washing habits!
Each performer had his moment, and brought something different to the table. Smith-Bynoe's facial expressions were priceless throughout; Murphy provided the over-exaggerated humour, and Keane's understated authenticity had a charm all of its own. I particularly appreciated Eastwood's careful handling of an age-old audience suggestion involving toilet humour. It was one of the gentlest put-downs I have ever seen in a theatre setting; the offer was literally 'boxed away' and unused, but the way it was done couldn't have upset or offended anyone.
If I'd criticise anything, it would be the opening – the loud music is presumably to get the adrenaline pumping and stimulate the audience into action, but I found it aggressively intrusive and really couldn't wait for it to stop. Once they get going, the games they choose will be recognised by anyone familiar with the world of improvisation, but the slightly different way the players adapt them is very entertaining indeed. So if you're fed up with this grey old winter, seek this show out. I'm convinced that it will brighten up your day.