If you’re looking for fun and interactive quiz formats that work well as hour long Edinburgh Fringe shows, then pickings are comparatively slim. Enter Alan Leach, drummer of Britpop band Shed 7, who has created an incredibly simple yet effective piece of technology and crammed 15 years of quizmastering experience into a neat and successful hour for your enjoyment.
Quiz fans of all ages and abilities will delight in the challenges.
There are tablets spread across the venue as you go in, so that your team can help yourself to this innovative quizzing tool. Today, the audience was barely half full and there were plenty to go around, but I imagine that when the show gets packed out, Alan would present the opportunity to make new friends and join teams together. Where some half-full comedy shows might suffer from a dispersed audience, it actually fits this event very appropriately.
The format works really well, with a range of question styles using the flawless tech to its fullest potential. There are opportunities for tactical ploys and the whole gamut from trick questions to real thinkers to fun opinion polls. Quiz fans of all ages and abilities will delight in the challenges, kicking off with your choice of musical anthem to be played when you win points.
Alan is evidently a seasoned writer and presenter of quizzes – reducing a vast archive into his pick of an hour worth of questions and gags to link or embellish with trivia. While he constantly reinforces the fact that he’s very new to ‘comedy’, his writing is on point and almost every joke lands well. He claims to have spent much of the year researching stand-up online, but his time may have been better spent getting real life experience in the field. Some patter feels under-rehearsed, and while he delivers his lines confidently, he doesn’t seem fully comfortable on stage yet and wanders distractedly throughout. No doubt he’ll begin to iron this out over the course of his run.
It’s clear that the audience are behind him from the outset, and the show attracted fans of both quiz and Shed 7, judging from the selfie-and-autograph queue afterwards. The atmosphere during the hour was similar to what one might expect from a quiz night with a well-liked quizmaster. With the potential Edinburgh Fringe presents though, Leach, aka Alan Shed, may have missed a trick to encourage a more vocally competitive atmosphere, with singalongs, inter-team dynamics and rapport-enhancing segments to create a more memorable event. The main invitation for audience participation comes quite late into the show, and falls a little flat.
This is still a fun and challenging hour, which Mr Shed has clearly invested a lot in, and it does pay off. If you’re after an interactive comedy show that puts your grey matter to the test, you’ll be hard pressed to find one more enjoyable than this, especially in the early afternoon.