EFR - Reviews of Do Not Adjust Your Stage

Do Not Adjust Your Stage

Sun 19th – Sat 25th August 2012

reviews

Imogen O'Sullivan

at 21:22 on 20th Aug 2012

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The parodying of familiar styles of television is the underlying concept for this improvised show and is a remarkably successful formula, creating a strong structure for the talented improvisors to showcase their skill. Initially, Tim Grewcock formulates a good relationship with the audience using a vibrant and engaging introduction, a relationship that is then cultivated as the show continues by a universally likeable troupe.

Whilst improvised comedy traditionally relies on suggestions from audience members, this piece manages to involve its spectators with innovative ploys, the most striking of which is the instinctive co-operative reaction to Grewcock’s creation of a gameshow catchphrase. In addition, the use of a guitarist is an interesting addition to the actors onstage; effectively utilised, Tom Dixon’s role is one with plenty of room for development, though his musical strength does not seem to lie in the spontaneity the rest of the cast clearly revel in.

Tim Williams has been blessed with the comedy gift of funny accents - his Louis Walsh impersonation is a particular highlight – and his endearing persona allows an audience to forgive occasional slowness in verbal reactions. Neil Bradbury is quick off the mark, clever and eloquent, and great at setting context for his fellow performers to follow. Another point in his favour is the surprising quantity of Chico lyrics he appears to know. Last but not least, Rhys Collier is adept at finding jokes that work with his audience and sticks to them, linking the piece together nicely.

The most hilarious moments of this show were born out of unpredictable mistakes; by the time the group really get into their silly stride, nothing can derail the laughter. Improvised comedy is notoriously difficult but they pull it off with ease and confidence, dealing exceptionally well with bumps in the road and improving steadily the more convoluted and confused the plot line gets. Not only are these performers talented and clever in their parodies, the old comedy backups of funny voices and physical comedy are also strong and avoid clichés. Characteristic of this show is the closing Top of the Pops scene – an incredibly brave gambit that indicates that these are actors unafraid to look silly. For free improvised comedy, these guys are among the best.

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Lise McNally

at 00:21 on 21st Aug 2012

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If real TV were as funny as ‘Do Not Adjust Your Stage’, I’d never get off the sofa. This lively and entirely improvised piece of theatre allows the audience to play at being TV commissioners for the afternoon, taking suggestions for plotlines and themes for brand new Television shows and bringing them to life on the spot. “Channel hopping” between a soap opera, documentary and a quiz show, with interjections of newsnight and top of the pops, the comic ensemble have to think fast and act faster.

The four loveable lads (Tim Grewcock, Rhys Collier, Tim Williams and Neil Bradbury) rise to the challenge with ease and flair. Equipped with sharp tongues and even sharper minds, they play off each other in a way that is truly delightful to watch, and seem to have a real sense of comedic timing. With their skill set ranging from witty wordplay to so-bad-its-good physical comedy, the pace of the show is perfect.

The scenes themselves aren’t exactly polished or precise (it's improv), but therein lies their charm. Indeed, I was constantly hoping that the boys would screw up more regularly, since they managed to recover so beautifully. Their hastily fabricated justifications for dodgy accents, name changes or forgotten plots were some of the highlights of the production. Bradbury in particular was a real master of this, being quick witted beyond belief and remarkably articulate under pressure.

The standard of humour might not be particularly sophisticated, but then ‘Do Not Adjust Your Stage’ makes no pretensions towards the big and the clever, and good thing too. There is no polish, only a great deal of fun. Imagine watching four of your best mates acting out your favourite TV shows and you’ll have an idea of the mood of this production. Its fresh and funny TV entertainment - without the licence fee.

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