Waiting For The Call is an exercise in improvised musical theatre, performed by some of the younger students at Wellington College. This company choose to blindfold and stick an iPod in the ears of one of the performers while the selection of show title and story is made, only bringing him into the action when one of the other performers phones him, therefore waiting for the call! Simple huh?
The method this company deploys is picking a show title from the children’s section of the official Fringe Guide and building the story around that. For example, at our performance we got ‘Snoopy The Musical’ crossed with ‘There’s Something In My Shoe’ to give us ‘Snoopy There’s Something In My Shoe The Musical.’
The company then launch into an hour of musical comedy improvisation, which at first is pretty funny but the inexperience of the cast quickly begins to show as they run out of novel ideas and start to rely on clichés which are overused in the extreme. The working of a scene involving two boys in love could be conveyed as offensive but just manages to stay the right side of the line.
The key aspect of an improvised musical is the ability of its performers to be able to hold a tune even though they are making it up as they go along. Unfortunately there were quite a few weak voices on show in this production. There were more than a few bum notes throughout the show which isn't helped by several of the songs having the same line of lyrics repeated endlessly.
You get the impression that this is a fairly new company judging by the inexperience and youth of the performers. Hopefully time will allow them to improvise in a much better fashion. It’s not all bad though and the production has a fun feel to it, special mention has to go to the musical director who performs on both keyboards and percussion at the same time which is really neat trick.
As with all improvised shows you're reliant on the audience and cast coming up with a great idea for the storyline but even that needs backed up with performers who really can work the improvised art form. Given time and experience this company will join the ranks of those who can improvise their way out of anything.