The Shambles

The comedy troupe from York returns to the festival once again with their fun, if rather forgettable, hour of hit-and-miss improvised routines. The group energetically bounces around the stage firing jokes off each other from the suggestions of the audience. Trouble is that the audience suggestions tend to be funnier than the outcome.

The Shambles is not the best improv comedy troupe you’ll see at the festival, though they are far from being the worst.

There can be no criticism of the enthusiasm of the group, and they do make a good attempt at the different games put to them from the show’s agreeably sassy hostess. Where some audience suggestions are taken and incorporated well, others are ignored altogether which seems a bit strange for a show that advertises itself as being ‘based entirely on audience suggestions’. More often than not, the hostess’ suggestions are preferred over the audiences. The show itself is a fun hour but it does have the hint of feeling like watching a young group of drama students taking part in an improvisation workshop. Too often some of the group members meet dead ends with their train of thought, and a number of good opportunities are overlooked.

That’s not to say there isn’t the odd nugget of comedy gold to be found here and there, and surely some nights will fare better than others. The evening that I was in the audience the funniest routine came from our hostess watching a pretend feature film DVD which the cast acted out; this included watching outtakes, commentaries, and various other special features. It was a nifty little game with some hilarious moments that made the previous games seem even less successful. The Shambles is not the best improv comedy troupe you’ll see at the festival, though they are far from being the worst. They are a friendly, likeable bunch and you are guaranteed to have a laugh throughout the hour. How many laughs though, is a bit of a gamble, so on any given night you may want to add another star to this rating or take one away. 

Reviews by Stewart McLaren

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The Blurb

The Shambles, York's premier improvised comedy troupe, are back at the Fringe! Bringing you hilarious songs, scenes and games based entirely on your audience suggestions, no two shows can ever be the same. Every show is unique – but without you, we are nothing! So join this vibrant and eclectic cast, and bring along your best and weirdest suggestions for an evening of unrepeatable, unforgettable and unbeatable improvised comedy. ‘True hilarity and genius … genuine charisma’ (York Vision). 'Genuinely funny' (List). 'Incredible' **** (ThreeWeeks).