Paul Merton returns to the Edinburgh Fringe this year with an improvised comedy show. Unsurprisingly, the hype and expectations of the audience were high, but Merton, along with his four guest comics, did not disappoint. You cannot help but be amazed at how quick, witty and intelligent these comics are.
As well as shining as individuals, the comics work incredibly well together
Moving quickly between different ‘rounds’ of improvised sketches, the show overall has a great pace. Occasionally, some of the individual sketches seem slightly drawn out and lose their spark, but on the whole the show has a really nice flow and the audience are taken from scenario to scenario quickly with great comic timing.
Merton’s guests are excellent. Suki Webster is clever and keeps the audience engaged throughout. She does well to make light of her own fumbles or dodgy accents, turning what could be a weaker moment of the show into a particularly funny one. Richard Vranch’s musical accompaniments are spot-on and show his talent as a musician as well as a comedian. Lee Simpson is a clear audience favourite throughout; he is utterly hysterical. Mike McShane provides some great laughs and takes on some very funny characters and Paul Merton proves the reason he is such a household name with his quick wit and confident manner.
As well as shining as individuals, the comics work incredibly well together. There are no instances of ‘one-upping’ or anything of that nature, but they are quick to jump on each other’s mistakes, either to fix it to continue a sketch or to make a joke about it. The show is extremely enjoyable from start to finish. Every game shows off the comedian’s talent and smarts and thoroughly entertains the audience. It truly deserved its sell-out status. With any luck it will return to the Fringe next year. If it does, I for one will be sure to buy my ticket early.