Thursday, September 21

Film Club: An improvised Comedy – Just the Tonic, The Caves

There is such an abundance of improvised comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe, that a performance must be truly excellent in order to stand out. Sadly, Film Club didn’t reach that level on this occasion. It began promisingly, as the audience were asked to shout out a film they loved as a child, a film they saw too young, and a film that moved them. One brave audience member volunteered to use their film choices. I can’t remember exactly what these were, but we ended up with a general theme of thriller time-travel, which seemed promising. All in all, the selection process took maybe five to ten minutes, which was a bit longer than most of the other improv I’ve seen, but by no means killed the energy of the audience and performers.

The improvised skits were ultimately hit and miss. Whilst it was clear the performers were all clever, and there were certainly some very funny lines, it rarely came together for an entire skit. They frequently began to drag, and I’d find myself beginning to hope that they move on to a different scene. It must be noted though, that this was not a typical performance. The lighting went completely haywire, flashing constantly and turning on and off and completely random intervals. This must have been distracting for the performers to say the least, so I don’t want to judge their skills too harshly. If I were performing in a play and the lighting went crazy, you can be sure I wouldn’t give my best performance. But they dealt with it admirably, including quips about how the police were taking a very long time to drive past.

The final skit was by far my favourite and revolved around two mad scientists randomly combining various animals, such as a wolf and a giraffe. ‘Because the only thing that has held back the wolf, is its lack of a really long neck’. With the lights sorted, it allowed the performers to shine. I imagine that this is what the rest of the skits would have been like were it not for the technical mishap. Even so, Film Club never hit the heights of truly great improvised comedy, the kind that has you falling out of your chair with laughter. Perhaps it was simply an off day, or a difficult prompt, so I would be happy to go again. But based solely on that show, there is funnier improv to be found elsewhere in the Fringe Festival.

Reviewer: Ben Pearson

Reviewed: 9th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.