Exeter Revue Improv Night

Exeter Revue Improv Night

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Image Credits: Exeter Revue
Image Credits: Exeter Revue

M and D room

10 March

“I’m going to go right to the back, that’s where the giggles are”, Edd Cornforth, the friendly and funny host said as we drew the scenarios and lines out of the hat. Within five minutes we are laughing beyond restraint, a trend that continued sporadically throughout the hour long show, chock-full of improvisation and confusion.

The Exeter Revue’s Improv Night plays on bizarre scenarios and characters being thrown together to create unrestrained laughter, sometimes from the actors themselves, with no topic or joke off-limits. The laughter rises and crashes throughout the evening, with a few awkward pieces and gags that fall foul of taste – but these are all in the spirit of the night.

The recurrent game “World’s Worst”, which plays upon a format of one-liners on topics determined by the audience, runs throughout the night to mixed, but engaging effect. For instance, “Worlds Worst Teacher” provided great satire, from incompetent cover tutors to raucously inappropriate caricatures. The repetition of this particular game allows the audience to think up suggestions, a fun distraction from other, more complicated games.

The Revue used role play in various longer games to hilarious effect. Sarah Gough and Oli Gilford are standout performers in these various skits with brilliant commitment to their ridiculous roles. Belly-laughing is unavoidable when Gough throws herself on the floor to imitate a jealous slug without hesitation, or when Gilford assumes the role of a  lovestruck Disney character, awkwardly breaking out in song to the point of hilarity. Poppy Harrison’s musical renditions, both with Gilford and solo, should also be commended for sheer whimsy.

Sadly, there are a few sketches that fall a little flat. Replaying common movie scenes in different formats plays heavily upon stereotype and simplicity of obvious tropes, struggling to warrant such a large amount of the Revue’s precious hour. There are also a few jokes which can feel stagnant due to subject matter; a lead balloon regarding women and reverse parking comes to mind.

The Revue could possibly benefit with shaking up pairings. Ricky Freelove and Sarah Gough spent most of the night performing brilliantly with each other, but I would have loved to seen things mixed up with Jack Smail or Oli Gilford, who also predominately worked together. There are also a few minor teething problems with organisation, such as performers stood on stage waiting for a topic that has not yet been chosen, but these are minor problems and very easily forgiven.

My most enjoyable moment featured Sarah Gough and Ricky Freelove sparring fantastically, mimicking the infamous “I’m king of the world” Titanic scene, as if in a porno. I was in tears as they gyrated to ridiculous comic effect, not the only time the theatre was swallowed by my chortling hysteria.

Regardless of a handful of flat notes, the Revue’s night of bolstered comic chaos is a success. All of the cast can be proud of their sharp wits and the natural rapport they all have on the stage, which leaves the audience giggling infectiously. Unscripted comedy is always a risky move, but the Revue have asserted themselves as a reliable night at the theatre for a laugh.

4 stars

Louis Doré

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