Pavel Kondov reviews Exeter Revue’s Improv Comedy night at the M&D Room on 25th January
Exeter’s very own comedy society was launched in the beginning of the academic year with high hopes and higher ambitions, and so far there is every sign that they intend to keep their promise. After a successful improvisation round in their Christmas show, for their latest performance the boys and girls of Exeter Revue decided to test their coldness of blood and quickness of wit in an entire ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ style night.
After their by now trademark puzzling opening, the games kicked off. Joining co-presidents Edd Cornforth and Oli Gilford with veterans Jack Smail and Louisa Griffith-Jones, debutante Sarah Gough and our very own Arts Editor Ricky Freelove, who, I should point out, was both hilarious and charming.
Firstly, we were treated to a couple of ‘Whose Line’ rounds in which the performers had to incorporate a line they had never read before within a randomly selected scenario. The Revue production team had done their fair share of work, subjecting the comedians to absurd scenarios, such as a pirate trying to seduce a lesbian mermaid (sadly, he failed).
The second game was a quick-fire round of ‘World’s Worst…’ which relied on the audience to pick a category. Smartly balancing between the edgier and the more obvious but still funny entries, all six performers scored big laughs in this round.
My favourite round for the night, however, was ‘Foreign Film Dub’ whose premise provided the obligatory justification for some casual stereotyping and mocking the French. The audience would suggest generic film scenes which two performers would play out in a foreign language they were not necessarily fluent in, whilst two others would translate their lines. This was an especially rewarding round challenging the actors and giving them a chance to show their skills.
Finally the performers had to showcase their musical talents in a musical round called ‘Song-prov’. Despite the underwhelming iPad accompaniment, the actors managed to improvise humorous songs whilst even sounding in tune… most of the time!
Although all of the performers did brilliantly, I feel a special shout-out to Sarah Gough is due, for she aced her first performance with the Exeter Revue in the harsh genre that is improvisation.
The show did leave some things to be desired. Although the awkward situations were often brushed off with amusing self-referential comments, some segments dragged on without direction, only to be stopped by the buzzer. The show could have also benefited from more games, as the existent ones were played through so quickly that they had to repeat a couple of rounds from each game in order to fill time.
The principle of ‘trial and error’ is especially true in stand-up comedy. In spite of a few shortcomings, Exeter Revue’s Improv Night was a definite success, and I am convinced that the next time they do one, it is going to be even better.
Exeter Revue will be returning with their ‘Spring Revue’ on 24 March, as well as two performances during Arts week (beginning March 10).