Notflix

Waiting for the Call: The Improvised Musical’s Notflix has to be one of the best improv shows I have seen at the Edinburgh Fringe this year. And for such young improvisers, the standard is truly remarkable. Upon entry, audience members are given a slip of paper on which to write the name and the basic plot of the last film they saw. After handing them in, two are pulled out of a hat, and the audience get to vote on which improvised musical version of the film they would rather see. Our selection was between LOL and The Dark Knight. Unsurprisingly, the latter got the majority vote. The favourite character, scene and location are then selected, and a musical, of the sort you would never find on Netflix, is born.

Some of the best young talent I’ve seen at the Fringe this year.

The girls – for the company is made up wholly of roaringly funny and incredibly talented young women – then improvised a US cop drama, featuring the Joker, who just pulls slightly gory but relatively innocent pranks on those around him to endear himself to the receptionist, and Angela, who chooses to fight crime on her own after being fired. The plot is absurdly cheesy, containing many motivational songs along the journey of personal and discovery and growth that they undergo. The singing is of a surprisingly high quality, with songs being improvised on the spot and being used to further develop the plot. A mash-up of a few tunes from Les Misérables gets a particular giggle, and all of the songs are fun and relevant.

There is no denying that these girls are all fantastic improvisers: they communicate well, listen to each other and don’t let a single strand go undeveloped. The plot is neatly tied up by the end, with many laughs along the way. Live musical accompaniment is also very well used, and it is clear that everyone on stage is completely in sync, working tremendously as a team. Live flute accompaniment was sadly drowned out by the electric piano, and better projection when playing would not have gone amiss; a real pity, as the player’s songs at the beginning and end were very fun and she was clearly a good musician.

It is inevitable that in a show like Notflix, the setup has to be relatively formulaic. However, the show felt very fresh and original, making many references to the original The Dark Knight, and the teamwork allowed for a flexibility and spontaneity not often seen in improvised comedy- especially musicals. The Waiting for the Call team has to have been some of the best young talent I’ve seen at the Fringe this year; I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves for next year!

Reviews by Fiona Russell

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★★★★★
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The Blurb

Think of a terrible plot, think of awful characterisation and think of twists so frustratingly illogical you yearn for the narrative simplicity of Memento. Waiting for the Call: The Improvised Musical presents Notflix, the most horrible and least recommended original movies generated from audience suggestions. How could it be any worse? Did we mention it’s improvised? And a musical? Featuring a live band and original improvised songs. Notflix. The worst movies ever made, worsened with music. Funny Women and Laughing Horse New Act of the Year semi-finalists 2015. Sunday Times and Elle pick of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015.

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