Bristol Improv Presents Story Slam

Sat 4th – Sat 25th August 2018

reviews

Eleanor Gunn

at 08:56 on 12th Aug 2018

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'Bristol Improv Presents Story Slam' is free Fringe show that takes place at the Brew Dog on Lothian street, and showcases some fantastic comedy. We were packed into the bar's little room like sardines and the atmosphere was buzzing. It began with with some improv games, and then move on to a longer introduction based on a story from an audience member.

Part of the difficulty with reviewing improv is that you really can’t predict what you’ll see – the only way to follow a plot is to come up with good suggestions. Often with these it’s the wackier the better. Audience participation is essential!

The group, a Bristol University society, clearly had a lot of passion for comedy, attacking the stage with energy and charisma. The improv games were probably to strongest part of the show, with all the group members reacting with lightning quick wit. My personal favourite game was the ‘helping hands’ where one performer stands behind another, the one in front speaks, the one at the back controls the arms. This was incredibly well delivered with both performers very conscious of the other’s words or movement. It was a credit to their team work. The other stand out game was the blind date game, where audience members suggested qualities for 3 bachelors. This was unmissable – if you go please make sure to come up with some good suggestions!

It was the longer part of the show which ever so slightly let them down, and the problem here seemed to be a slight lack of cohesion within the group. It was a game based on an audience member’s story with the theme of first dates, and they chose a story about a guy who went on a date with his Facebook stalker. The set up meant that any performer could change scene whenever they liked. This made the performance slightly chaotic, and after a good start the laughs came fewer and further between. They did, however, manage to bring it back at the end, and the show ended on a high note.

'Bristol Improv' is one to go see with a group of friends and a pint. The group are incredibly quick-witted and, despite a small blip, so was the show. It was slightly chaotic, and a little rough around the edges, but that was part of the charm. Go armed with some good suggestions and you are bound do have a great time – I know I did.

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Emilia Andrews

at 09:47 on 12th Aug 2018

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Until last night, I had never been to an Improv show before. Excited but slightly nervous about the possibility of audience participation, I desperately racked my brains for an interesting story to tell to a room full of strangers. Thankfully, this was not necessary as the Bristol Improv group did a fantastic job of putting us all at ease and creating a fun, relaxed environment in their latest show, 'Story Slam'. The room was very full and had a great atmosphere, with loads of the audience always keen to pitch in.

With improvisation, no two shows are ever the same, so the flexibility and skill of the improvisers is of central importance. With this show, I was delighted by the group’s ability to jump straight into fresh performances with creative and entertaining dialogue. One sketch which I found particularly hilarious was an interpretation of the filming of Shrek, beginning: “get out my swamp” and ending with two of the improvisers, as Shrek and Lord Farqhuaad, shouting at each other in fake Italian. These are the kind of unexpected twists and turns you can expect this show to take, all within a matter of minutes.

'Story Slam' was presented as a series of games in the first half, many of which worked successfully to create entertaining content. However, one which fell slightly flat for me was the letter game, in which four of the improvisers worked in pairs to compose a letter to the other pair. As each improviser was only allowed to say one word at a time, there wasn’t much scope for the kind of creative wit which was displayed during other games and in the story slam in the second half. Yet, the whole show was so fast-paced that this was quickly made up for in the next game.

While all of the performers were good, Ted Milligan shone out as the star of the show with his quick wit and engaging stage presence. Even with constant interruptions from a woman in the audience he managed to keep the crowd in stitches. At one point she got up to leave the room and he nonchalantly offered her a bite of his edible bagpipe, met with an uproar of laughter.

So if you’re looking for something fun, relaxed, and engaging, head down to BrewDog and watch some ridiculous stories unfold on stage, performed by Bristol’s excellent group of improv actors.

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