Free and Easy

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 it’s worth getting your table, because it’s hard to stand still when you’ve 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 audience’s 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, Stuart’s suggestions for his career, and Gary’s 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 Stu’s commentary. Then the three are superheroes: Rhyming Couplet Man’s 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 you’d 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.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Stu and Garry return with their highly acclaimed lunchtime show. Great improvised comedy, superb food and absolutely free to get in. 'Very, very laugh-out-loud funny' (Evening News). 'Funny and free, what more do you want?' (Scotsman).

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