As the members of Edinburgh University’s improv troupe run into the flashing lights, accompanied by music and applause, they are introduced to us as ‘the players’. It’s a title that fits: the company spend the next hour playing around in a number of improvisation games. Somewhat of a Fringe institution, in 2015 The Improverts celebrate their 26th year at the Festival, and although the show doesn’t offer much that is new, the sharp and energetic players certainly manage to keep things interesting.
They’re not afraid to be silly, and take with gusto any suggestion the audience throw at them. The technical team, too, deserve particular credit, pulling the perfect sound effect out of nowhere at the slightest notice.
The show consists of a succession of classic improvisation games: ‘The Alphabet Game’ sees players start each line with the next letter of the alphabet on a subject of the audience’s choice; ‘Should’ve Said’ lets the audience decide when they want to rewind and make the player say something completely different. It’s a clever set-up, and keeps things fast-paced, with players constantly switching in and out of games. They know exactly what to do and how to do it, taking up audience suggestions with ease and generating some very funny material.
There is nothing particularly groundbreaking on offer here, though. The team are clearly talented, but we are left feeling that they could have done more with the hour than we have seen. It still feels exciting, in part thanks to the buzzing atmosphere that accompanies a late show, and largely to do with the confidence of the players themselves. The team is, without exception, strong, and there are a couple of real standouts among them. They’re not afraid to be silly, and take with gusto any suggestion the audience throw at them. The technical team, too, deserve particular credit, pulling the perfect sound effect out of nowhere at the slightest notice.
The Improverts offer a very solid improvised hour. If you’ve seen a lot of improvisation, there’s nothing about the set-up that will particularly surprise you, but the wonderful thing about an improv show is that, within each little game, there is plenty of potential for the unexpected. And if you’re itching to try improvising yourself, they might even let you join in.