Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised

Aaaand Now for Something Completely Improvised spins out a fully-fledged, one hour show, firmly founded on nothing more than the performers’ wit, charm, comedic reflexes and audience responses to an old story book.

Flawless it is not, nor is it possible to judge every performance on just the one I’ve seen, but Racing Minds’ Aaaand Now for Something Completely Improvised is improv at its very best.

We join the cast in an imagined parlour, dripping with faux-Victoriana, a pastiche evoking the adventure stories of old, imperial times: from this springboard, the boys of Racing Minds begin the process of crafting a newly minted, improvised tale. Dissolving into darkness, the show begins proper; verbal puns, linguistic play, and swift reactions drive the connective scenes forward, carried on by Dylan Townley’s live music, guiding the audience’s emotional journey.

Despite being only an improvised comedy, you can tell that Racing Minds know their stuff, edging always towards fleshing out their characters as fully as possible, even giving Tom Skelton, as the lead, a chance at character development, always keeping in mind motivation and identity. It’s this self-discipline which keeps the show from descending into a self-indulgent mess, and it’s part of what makes the comedy so great as well: unaware of just where their co-performers might be taking a scene exactly, reacting off one another, they’re forced to commit to some of the strangest choices about their own characters, and commit to mistakes, even in the midst of corpsing, or with tongue firmly in cheek, creating situations that can only lead to hilarity. Committing to mistakes and missteps as well, egging each other on, the show quickly becomes a little surreal, but remains charged with infectious energy, and despite the occasional flagging moments, delivers flashes of sheer silliness and brilliance.

Eventually, Tom, Dougie, Chris, Daniel and Dylan manage to wrap all of the bizarre elements of the audience’s whimsical suggestions, cheating a little, and perhaps breaking the fourth wall a little too often, coming perilously close to the abyss of pantomimic silliness. And yet, they retain the audience’s sympathy and attention: though anarchic, Racing Minds never compromise our faith in their ability to tie the show up.

Flawless it is not, nor is it possible to judge every performance on just the one I’ve seen, but Racing Minds’ Aaaand Now for Something Completely Improvised is improv at its very best. 

Reviews by Josh Adcock

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The Blurb

Fringe sensations Racing Minds are back after two sell-out years! A doddery grandfather can't quite remember his ripping yarn, but with your help a mystery stuffed with hilarious characters, whip-smart wit and breathtaking twists will take hasty shape before your very eyes. Anything could happen, but excitement is guaranteed in this improvised comic adventure based entirely on audience suggestions! As heard on BBC 6 Music. 'Clever, funny and satisfying' (Sunday Times). 'Crafted by the gods of comedy' ***** (ThreeWeeks). 'Insanely original' ***** (TheNewCurrent.co.uk). 'Supremely impressive' **** (GiggleBeats.co.uk).

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