For Free and Easy it pays to be very early at the Stand, or that wont just be the venue name. Doors open at about 11:30, and its worth getting your table, because its hard to stand still when youve got a lot of laughing to do.
Stuart Murphy and Gary Nobbs are very experienced at improvisation, and at working together. They keep energy levels high in the packed room, and after a quick warm up, get into the games. The first section involves the alphabet game, where each player starts their speech with the next letter of the alphabet, World Crisis, and Two Genres, where the same scene is played out in, well, you guessed it. Clearly every single day is different, but this audiences suggestions meant trying to create ice with a flamethrower, a Soviet Propaganda baker, and buying cakes in gangster rap.
In a different style of game, Stuart left the room, and had to return to guess that he was a turnip farmer from Timbuktu trying to win a Penny Farthing. Scene like this show off the players skill, as even when guessing very wrong, Stuarts suggestions for his career, and Garys desperate hints are all still funny, not too drawn out, and even manage swift touches of reincorporation. The pair gain Glenn Long as a guest for the later parts of the show, and the trio revel in the additional flexibility. Gary and Glenn spoke alternate words as a Bonsai Daffodil expert. Glenn and Stu sing Opera with Gary translating their hospital drama. Gary plays tennis with a cricket bat, it transpires, from Glenn and Stus commentary. Then the three are superheroes: Rhyming Couplet Mans phone ringing in rhyme was a hilarious moment, in a consistently well performed scene.
Before the second interval, the group had asked the audience for Scenes youd like to see. This becomes an entertaining chance to drop each other in it: How are you, Madam? or to compete on silly ideas. The final scenario hands as much control to the audience again, as Should Have Said allows anyone to demand a change. A charming childish scene on a rocking horse quickly descends into smut, relished by the attentive audience.
Theoretically, any improv show is only as good as the audience suggestions, but not only do these guys have a talent for eliciting suggestions with humour potential, but their professionalism and playful sense of humour means they can turn comedy gold out of anything even a turnip.