The Very Nice Improv Show

These guys are fantastic improvisers. The name of their group is Beard of Zeus (formerly ‘Southhampton Outtakes’), and unlike many improv groups performing at this year’s Fringe, they manage to distinguish themselves on sheer talent rather than ostentatious production.

A fantastic show that is definitely worth watching this Fringe.

Many improv groups performing at this year’s Fringe are overly reliant on lights and sound to produce a compelling performance. Beard of Zeus opt for a more minimalist production, but with lots of quick wit and hilarious punchlines. This is a group that distinguishes themselves from the crowd. This is an improv show that is worth watching.

They have a relatively simple format, but the individual parts of it are tight and work like a well-oiled machine. There were several segments, all neatly laced together by the player acting as MC, who was very quick and smart, making cuts at just the right moments, and who kept the audience on their toes throughout the show. When bits were funnier and demanded tags branching off into new scenes, he let the scenes breathe. When things threatened to fall flat, he cut the scenes and jumped onto something better right away. Overall there was a great deal of communication happening between the players on stage, and between the players and MC as well, and more often than not they seemed perfectly in sync.

This group performs short form games and non-narrative long form scenes, using a variety of different info-generators, all of which use audience input. For example, during one absolutely hilarious segment, they incorporate insults and compliments written and contributed by the audience, to phenomenal effect. The whole audience was howling.

Overall, these guys put together a fantastic show that is definitely worth watching this Fringe. They are definitely one of the better improv groups you’ll see here this summer. With other lesser improv teams, a show can still feel stale even though all the jokes are new. These guys were not the case. Their show is fresh from start to finish, and a guaranteed hilarious performance.

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Performances

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The Blurb

The nicest improv show this side of Toronto. It’s so nice your grandmother sends us money every Christmas. And guess what? We always send back a thank you note and donate the whole thing to charity. It’s so nice that we don’t even pay scriptwriters to write our shows. Why? Because it’s an improv show, ya schmuck. Come to our show, it’s all I have left after my ex-wife took custody of our kids. Acclaim for Beard of Zeus (formerly Southampton Outtakes): ‘left the audience laughing out the door’ (EdFringeReview.com).

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