Off the Cuff: Crime and Funishment

Off the Cuff, the Brighton based improvisation troupe, bring their show Crime and Funishment to the Fringe. The five competent performers create a new and improvised take on the classic TV detective drama every night in front of our very eyes. Tonight's audience suggested starting point was the word “cabbage”. “Great oaks from little acorns grow” and so too do intriguing stories from the humblest of farmyard starting points. The improvised performance took us on a journey through a West Country farm to military espionage and a “1984” inspired big brother state in which Nigel Farage is a dictator and any mention of anything foreign is strictly forbidden.

Off the Cuff are certainly a talented group and present an enjoyable hour of improvisation

Although only able to comment on the specific version of the show seen, the most striking element was the detailed and solid structure these improvisers are able to adhere to. When sticking to a tight one hour slot, I can only imagine how easy it might be to let imaginations run away and overrun, or indeed not complete the narrative of the on-stage mystery. Off the Cuff manage to tell a completely satisfying and inventive tale in the time given and a story that, while not always making logical sense, still manages to capture the audience's hearts. Although all the improvisers are certainly competent, Tim Meredith was the performer who really stood out as adding detail, imagination and clarity to each scene. Unlike other performances of this genre, the group are able to comprehensively set the scene and make you believe in the story, no matter how ridiculous it may be.

Off the Cuff are certainly a talented group and present an enjoyable hour of improvisation which has some real depth and narrative clarity. They are presented as a comedy group and although there were only moments of this on display this evening, I have no doubt that their ability extends far beyond just tonight's performance. If you are looking for an enjoyable hour of improvisation then you could do worse than stick with this lot.

Reviews by James Price

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The Blurb

Brighton’s improvised comedy favourites present an impromptu detective drama, replete with colourful characters and lurid plots. A completely new episode created each night from audience suggestions. “Classic comedy gold” (Latest 7)