Bristol Improv for Hire sees a group of presumably recent graduates from Bristol navigate their way around the weird and wonderful world of job hunting through entirely spontaneous improvised comedy.
Improvisation, as became increasingly apparent as the performance progressed, is hard and the group didn’t make it look any easier. The profession was of course chosen by the audience, in this case ‘astronaut’, and in addition the four would-be candidates were given a single word to construct their character around as they entered the application process, for example ‘Batman’ or ‘mermaid’. They were then set a series of interviews and tasks, before one was finally chosen by the audience to embark on their first week at NASA.
There were agonisingly long pauses, jokes that went nowhere, weak dialogue and plenty of missed opportunities. These are a group of newcomers learning the trade, on their first ever Fringe performance. They did well just to prevent it from being excruciating and there were moments of promise, ingenuity, even brilliance. The imaginative suggestions of the audience meant the show frequently veered into the surreal, on which territory it thrived. It highlighted the absurdity and frequent futility of graduate job searching. When one internship candidate was sent by NASA on a mission to look for spoons, only to be told on his return, ‘there are many other candidates. Now piss off,’ a faint sigh of recognition arose from the audience.
This is not a must-see show but I would say give it a go if you happen to be passing by George Street. In proper student comedy style, it’s free, fun and friendly and even in its most absurd moments gives graduates a lot to relate to.