Voices in Your Head

Fri 1st – Sun 24th August 2014


Millie Morris

at 09:20 on 10th Aug 2014



Take Marcus Brigstocke and our favourite Fresh Meat star Greg McHugh and you've already got a hit improvisation team. Add Anna Morris and Chris Martin (no, not the singer) into the mix, and hilarity ensues. 'Voices in Your Head' is a wacky, laugh-a-minute show which delivers on all fronts, from quick-fire responses to obscure scenarios that can only be the result of a think-on-your-feet moment. Like everyone else in the audience, I am left with a face stiff from grinning and a belly aching with laughter.

What is unique about improvisation is that it will always be different whichever day you see it. On the night that we are packed into Edinburgh's Gilded Balloon after queuing in a stuffy, crowded room, there is an unofficial member of the team offstage, and he is a drunk Scotsman called Duncan. This audience member's raucous interjections are amusing at first, but become wearying after the fifth inebriated interruption. With true comedic style, our actors and comedians thrive off Duncan's contributions; Brigstocke in particular targets him with subtle mockery, to great success. I don't think Duncan realises we're laughing at him rather than with him, and I don't think he cares either way -- the jokes are going down a treat, and the atmosphere is buzzing.

Deborah Frances-White, the mystery 'voice' presenting the show, is razor-sharp in her introduction and delivers so many witty responses that I find myself giggling before any of the real action takes place. The outline is this: the stage-goers are given props to wear by members of the audience and are interrogated by Frances-White, where she crafts details of their imaginary lives and how they relate to the characters' assigned clothing.

They later play a game where each person assumes the role of an audience member who has listed their occupation and best and worst quality. Brigstocke is standout in his depiction of -- you've guessed it -- Duncan, complete with slurred Scottish tones which rival his earlier hilarious persona-creation of a white Jamaican man called Alan.

With unusual, surprising and always comical scenes unfolding onstage, this stellar band of actors/ comedians will definitely not disappoint. I can fault the show on its ever-so-slightly too short length of an hour, and am left wanting more -- yet the laughter in the room, actions of the characters and their voices in your head will still echo merrily long after the final whoop of applause is heard.


Amy Peters

at 09:46 on 10th Aug 2014



Necessarily, the whole premise behind improv comedy has the audience constantly on the edge of their seat. The risk of potential utter humiliation keeps both performer and audience forever on their toes. This sense of heightened emotion only served to propel the audience’s hysteria throughout the hilarity that is Voices in Your Head. I have not laughed this much since I arrived at this year’s Fringe.

Deborah Frances-White gave a hilarious introduction to the show, explaining that the performers – the brilliant Marcus Brigstocke, Anna Morris, Chris Martin and Greg McHugh in this instance – were as in the dark as we were regarding the content of the forthcoming performance. During this opening, our visceral annoyance at the heckler who piped up within the first thirty seconds of Frances-White’s intro was equaled only by our admiration at her hilariously scathing ripostes. Based on this alone I will most definitely be checking out her other work.

The basic premise of Voices in Your Head was that the audience used props to help create the characters that the performers then develop. So far, so improv. But the added twist of Frances-White’s disembodied tones floating through the darkness barking orders and asking questions brilliantly forced the performers into hilariously random corners and successfully kept the show fresh and fast-paced (as though anyone could get bored of Marcus Brigstocke’s Jamaican accent or Greg McHugh’s ridiculous attempt at Dutch). Particular highlights included a sexually confused army captain, a necrophiliac Bristolian and Alan the dog tooth fairy, an impressive range for a one hour show!

The beauty of improv is that you'll never see the same show twice, but if you’re after a top-quality comedy show with a twist (that actually works!), then Voices in Your Head will not disappoint. With a scathingly witty host and reliably talented guests, this show delivers solidly on the hilarity front.


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