Interview: Off the Cuff: Crime and Funishment

Brighton’s improvised comedy favourites present an impromptu detective drama, replete with colourful characters and lurid plots. A completely new episode created each night from audience suggestions. Prepare to be amused and awed by this spontaneous take on the classic TV whodunit from a group with a decade’s worth of inventive, raucously funny shows.

it always manages to weave together into a proper story, which is really satisfying when it's all been made up on the spot.

Name Rosie James

Show: Off the Cuff: Crime and Funishment

Tell us a bit about yourself

Off the Cuff are an improvised comedy group based in Brighton, and we've been going for just over a decade. This is our 11th Brighton Fringe run, and every year we devise a new show for the festival. We have a monthly residency here as well (currently at Marwoods), which is a full night of comedy featuring us and guest performers from the worlds of improv, sketch and stand-up. Over the years we've also performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, Camden Fringe and other shows around the country including summer festivals like Larmer Tree and Nozstock: The Hidden Valley.

Can you tell us a little bit about your show, what can we expect?

It's a live, improvised version of a TV crime drama. Expect to laugh a lot, and get immersed in an elaborate story that you'll never see anywhere again, as the latest cryptic case for Detective Funishment unfolds. Each show brings a completely new episode, all inspired by an audience suggestion, so it could turn out to be a gritty '70s-style maverick detective show or a quaint provincial murder mystery, or any number of other styles.

Why did you decide to perform your show at the Brighton Fringe?

We do the Fringe every year – being Brighton based, it would be a shame not to - and we like to try and give ourselves a biger challenge and give the audience a better show each time... so here we are!

What makes your show different?

The performers find out 'whodunit' at the same time as the audience. Even the perpetrator doesn't know that they did it until they get presented with the evidence or find themselves confessing. It's fun to all be in it together like that, and it adds to the suspense knowing that literally nobody knows how this thing is going to end. So we like to think that it's got the cosiness and convention of settling down in front of a favourite TV show, but with a level of spontaneity and comedy that could not be created without all these people in this room at this time, building it together - audience and performers alike.

Who would enjoy seeing your show?

Anyone who's ever enjoyed a nice bit of crime drama on the telly. Or who likes comedy. So, anyone! Probably not kids though... it can be a bit post-watershed.

What has been the best advice you have been given?

Be in the moment.

What show, apart from yours, would you recommend at the Brighton Fringe and why?

Sean McLoughlin's stand-up, because he's a major talent and it's got to be just a matter of time until he's a household name. The preview the other week was even better than expected: ridiculously funny but raw and quite intense. Also, if you want brilliantly written jokes that make you guffaw immediately and then giggle for weeks Fardell & Perry: 110% X-treem Total Adrenaline is ace. And so many others. It feels wrong just saying three, but let's stop there.

What do you think audiences will enjoy the most about your show?

It's very funny, and can get pretty silly or quite dark, but however lurid the characters or outlandish the plot, it always manages to weave together into a proper story, which is really satisfying when it's all been made up on the spot.

Off the Cuff: Crime and Funishmentis appearing at The Warren: Studio 2, 28-30 May 20:45