Blind Mirth Improv Comedy perform at the Ed Fringe 2013!

Tue 13th – Tue 20th August 2013

reviews

Lucy Wood

at 00:22 on 19th Aug 2013

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It is beyond a cliché to say that it’s harder to make people laugh than it is to make them cry. This is particularly true when those same people have had to make their way to one of Edinburgh’s harder-to-find venues (Paradise in the Vault) which is, as it turns out, the same temperature as the surface of the sun, and a nice little cry would probably do wonders for clearing out some of the Fringe-angst.

However this is Blind Mirth, and doing anything other than laugh isn’t really an option. They are easily the most consistently funny, sharp and clever improvisational group I have seen at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe.

From the very beginning the whole group were insuppressibly full of energy, encouraging the audience to get involved or get on stage. Their timing was pitch perfect throughout and the ensemble was well honed and balanced throughout the show. While there were some performers who seemed to naturally gravitate to the front of the stage, each and every performer was given some space and time to explore the comedy potential in every scene which they had thrown at them.

Apart from being very good performers, the inventiveness of the games which they played was impressive. From ‘Dr Know-It-All’, where three performers had to answer questions from the audience, one word at a time, to ‘Oscar Moments’, where instances of every day drudgery were ramped up into Oscar-worthy moments to ‘World’s Worst’, no moment of silliness or fun was passed up.

A great deal of what made the show so enjoyable to watch was how entirely delightful it was to see the scenes deteriorate into making less and less sense, as the performers began to weave a complex web of innuendos, references and throw backs to jokes from previous sketches. I left feeling as though I really had been part of something totally unique and special to that evening.

One of the most undeniably lovely things about watching the show was the sheer warmth which came off the performers. The chemistry and closeness is palpable in every line, bringing a sweetness and cheerful friendliness to even the bawdiest of moments.

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Christian Kriticos

at 12:33 on 19th Aug 2013

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Improv is format of performance theatre perhaps made most famous by the television series ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ Despite borrowing a few of the improv games from the series, such as 'World’s Worst’ and ‘Helping Hands’, the St Andrew’s University improvisational comedy group Blind Mirth did not remain in the shadow of their more famous peers. All of the actors demonstrated impressive versatility, and the show provided laughs throughout.

The first half of the show was dedicated to a series of short form games, the most original of which was ‘Chain Death Murder’, a wordless Chinese whispers murder mystery, in which each of the performers had to deduce the method of an audience-suggested homicide. All of the games had genuinely funny moments, and the audience were certainly taken in by the charm of the performers. However, some of the games lasted too long and occasionally stalled (though there were several fine recoveries) and the ‘Dr Know-It-All’ game felt unnecessary.

The second half of the show was taken up by a single long form game in which a series of seemingly disconnected sketches slowly intertwined into something like a bizarre comedic improv version of Robert Altman’s ‘Short Cuts’. This segment provided the show’s best moments, with particular highlights being Edward Fry and Robert Baxter Gaston’s performances as a male prostitute and his haggling client (and later husband). However, the game’s framing device, which involved brief musical interludes which the performers then had to work into their sketches, felt somewhat confused and didn’t quite work.

Although all the performers had moments of excellence, Matthew Knapp was the most consistent, carrying the ‘Actor’s Nightmare’ game in the first half, and producing some superb one-liners in the second half opposite the deadpan Michael Grieve.

For an hour of pure fun ‘Blind Mirth’ is unlikely to disappoint anyone. Although there are some rough edges, these are minor quibbles in a strong hour of comedy. The show ended on a high note too, with Lauren Dunlop coming up with a well-delivered response to the audience suggestion of ‘ocean liner’: “I like my women like my ocean liners... She’s going down!” You had to be there.

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