With so many improv troupes at the Edinburgh Fringe, it’s difficult to set yourself apart especially when you’re competing with the likes of Austentatious and Showstoppers!. Hysterical Artefacts is a comedy improv show where the troupe is given a historical time period and an object as prompts to create a show around.
There is fun to be had here
It’s difficult to know what to expect when going to watch improv. We have to expect, of course, that there will be some stumbling, reaching, doubling back etc. but the Bronze Age seemed a particularly tricky time period for the troupe. Jack, the Curator is there to make sure scenes don’t drag and that the cast work towards a conclusion. Why he decides to pick the Bronze Age and the contradictory object of steel as the suggestions to go with is not entirely clear, but the troupe do their best to make sure that we enjoy ourselves.
There are a few members of the troupe that are a few steps ahead of the rest, trying to create songs that rhyme out of thin air, figuring out why steel is called steel in this universe that they create and basically creating a legal drama that is the high point of the entire show. They challenge each other in order to move the plot along, and really commit to the ‘yes and..’ rule of improv, which leads to amusing results.
There are better improv shows than Hysterical Artefacts, but there are also worse ones. There is fun to be had here, as it is ultimately an increidbly ambitious task that the group set for themselves here.