Thursday, October 6

Starship Improvise – Pleasance Courtyard

You don’t have to love sci-fi to come along to this show, if you love comedy, you are in for a treat.   Tony and Olivier Award winning companies, Mischief Theatre, Showstopper! and Austentatious are the cream of the crop when it comes to improvising, so to have their combined skills on one stage is a must-see opportunity.

To set the scene, Celestia 7 was a long-running sci-fi TV series, and years later the stars have been invited to a fans convention where they reminisce about their series memories.  In this episode the improvisers were Adam Meggido (Showstopper!), Ruth Bratt (Showstopper!), Henry Shields (Mischief), Nell Mooney (Showstopper!), Dave Hearn (Mischief), and Charlotte Gittins (Austentatious), with Ed Zanders providing the musical accompaniment (musical director and composer of the musical Bluff).

The show does have a structure, the improvisers all have character names, and the backdrop is a screen which switches between different settings.  To spice things up a bit, the improvisers take suggestions from the audience.  What is the theme for today? – Vengeance, what is the title of this episode? – The Medical Convention, and where does it all begin? – a disused quarry (Greggs was discarded but brought in again later).

After a slick intro, Dr Dick (Hearn) and Dr Rose (Shields) find themselves on a planet collecting samples, when it is revealed that Dr Dick is in fact not a proper doctor, and Dr Lab Raider (a dog played by Meggido) just wants to play and chase the probe.  After a fruity exchange about scones, Dr Lab eats the probe which causes all sorts of complications.

Some highlights from the show were Ruth Bratt’s switch between empath Perry who until then had been the calming influence on the crew, switching to the aggressor Manuel, a Spanish speaking sentient-being from the planet they had invaded, who was also played by Charlotte Gittins – Meryl Streep guest starring as a cube (the woman has range) – Shields’ Clint Eastwood impression who was also a guest star who needed medical attention from Dr Dick.  The funniest impression award must go to Adam Meggido for his impression of Mr Bean, who had guest starred in the series as Dr Cobb – this reviewer cried with laughter, a comedy gem!

I cannot recommend this show enough.  Go along to see a show made up every day, from your suggestions.  It’s clever, funny and you will never see the same show twice.  A masterclass in improv!

This show runs until the 21st August so hurry to book tickets.  Follow this link to book – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/starship-improvise

Reviewer: Caroline Worswick

Reviewed: 10th August 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★

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