Matt and Ian's Improv Show

Comedy improvisers Matt and Ian are sensible enough to start their show with what the unkind might describe as their get-out clause; they admit, from the start, that they ‘might fail terribly’. However, the implication is that, if they do, the audience will be at least partly to blame, given that they’re the ones providing the ideas the pair will be working with. Whether this warning is at all necessary is an interesting point, as Matt and Ian certainly seem able to weave some enjoyable comedic moments out of what the audience provides.

It’s clear that Matt and Ian have an instinctive understanding of what the other is thinking; no less so than when they’re performing as the two-headed Zoltan, the mystic responding to randomly selected questions written down by the audience before the start of the show. There are the occasional slip-ups, of course, but that’s hardly surprising when you begin to realise that even the most vanilla of audiences seems unable to resist trying to trip the pair up in some way.

From a scene where Matt and Ian have to ensure each line of dialogue starts with the next letter in the alphabet, to Ian guessing the audience-chosen attributes of three party guests, Matt and Ian don’t do anything particularly unusual in terms of either wordplay or physical clowning. What they do, they do well, though; they maintain an infectious sense of fun at the ridiculousness of it all and ensure their audience feels involved.

Improv shows obviously succeed or fail on the ability of the performers to cope with what’s thrown at them; at least superficially, this is a form of comedy where the audience is much more in control. But with that power comes responsibility, a fact the audience tends to forget. Matt and Ian’s finalé involves the pair attempting some ‘proper’ acting within an improvised scene, with the catch being that, if the audience starts laughing, Matt and Ian will get squirted by large water pistols. With the audience as both judge and executioner, it’s hardly surprising that the pair reach the end of the show somewhat soaked - but it’s all in a good cause.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues

Nests

★★★
Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Marmite

★★★★

Performances

The Blurb

Matt and Ian return to the Fringe for a third year of silly improvised goodness. Quick wit and fast-paced humour. ‘I was in pain from laughing! ***** (www.kyeo.tv).