Murder, She Didn't Write

The Improv Fringe is alive and kicking this year, as witty and inventive as ever. One of the most exciting aspects of the Fringe is to watch an Improv show, or its actors, grow up and mature over a succession of years. Mischief Theatre’s Goes Wrong proponents learned much of their trade on the Fringe with their wonderful Lights, Camera, Improvise! and there is so much pleasure to be had watching the various acts at key stages of development. Early career groups Improvabunga and Oxford Imps see performers (often University students) taking their early steps, while shows like Locomotive For Murder are just starting to develop a clear format. The Importance of Being… Earnest? is just about to start a regional tour while Showstoppers! comes back to Edinburgh following a hugely successful West End run. It has always been for me an important and fascinating aspect of the Fringe, watching the careers of shows and performers unfold.

Enough to keep everyone laughing into their drinks on a Saturday night

Improv is certainly in safe hands when Degrees of Error are in charge. The Bristol based company specialises in comedy drama and improvisations, and has been running this show to the Fringe since 2013. The majority of its performances feature a male detective, such as Willy Solvit, hosting the evening, while a series of colour-based characters (Mr Gold, Dr Green, Miss Scarlet - you get the picture) make up the cast of suspects. Most performances present actors ‘in gender’ but this special edition cross-dresses the characters to provide an alternative perspective.

The show follows a well-developed formula to give us a sound night of laughs and on-the-spot comedy. We start off in the hands of host Richard Tective and meet our cast of characters before some grisly murders are committed. The show builds into an improvised denouement with the murderer unmasked. The theme on this particular evening is ballet, and the cast are inventive in the characters they create and witty in the lines delivered. They fold in the audience suggestions given, although there are only a small handful of aspects given to the audience to decide. One senses that the cast would benefit from being given more material to work with. For example, it would be interesting to have an audience suggest a title for the piece. From time to time, the host intervenes with suggestions and these add to the hilarity, being well judged each time. Again, however, there is space for a bit more of this.

The audience clearly enjoy every minute of it and there are regular loud laughs. A bit thin in places but enough to keep everyone laughing into their drinks on a Saturday night - a good job done.

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Reviews by Ben Ludlow

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A classic murder mystery is created on the spot from audience suggestions in this ingenious and hilarious show from Fringe favourites, Degrees of Error. Lady Violet slain with a whisk at a bake-off? Madam Gold crushed by a mannequin during New York fashion week? You decide, but will you guess whodunnit? 'Outstanding performances delivered by a seriously talented cast!' ***** (ThreeWeeks). 'Absolutely fantastic... Incredibly clever... Laugh-out-loud funny... A truly entertaining and hilarious take on the murder mystery and absolutely not one to miss' ***** (VoiceMag.uk). 'Hilarious... The show is a riot' (Scottish Daily Mail).

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