Watch This Presents: Nothing to Show
  • By Rob Marks
  • |
  • 7th Jun 2010
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Here’s a trade secret for you, readers at home: reviewing comedy is the hardest part of this job. I know what you’re thinking; being paid to sit in a room with the funniest people in the country and then giving your opinions like we all do in the pub is a piece of cake. Well you’re wrong. Unless you’re a bad reviewer you try not to give away the jokes that the comedians have crafted and attempt to spin out a better way of saying ‘you had to be there’. And that’s only if you enjoyed it.But nothing’s harder than reviewing improv comedy. First of all, your experience is entirely dependent on the audience that night, not to mention that whatever I saw, you won’t see. All you can do is talk about the energy and chemistry of the company and that rarely gives you, the punter, an indication of whether this particular show will make you laugh in an amount relative to the money you spent.That’s why I hate improv comedy. Particularly at the Fringe, where every student from Aberdeen to Southampton seems to think that pretending to be a doctor who’s got Tourette’s whilst in a space station being attacked by Mothra is the FUNNIEST THING EVER. They even have a quote from their student newspaper saying so on their flyers.But, like a solitary golden ray of light entering a long-forgotten and decrepit monastery, where rising dust particles seem to make the light sparkle with possibility, Birmingham University’s Watch This are coming to the Edinburgh Fringe this year to prove me wrong.The show is principally made up of a Harold: a long form game where the audience offers a single word and the players create a 45 minute narrative of four unrelated narratives that slowly intertwine. At the preview I saw, the word was ‘Dictionary’. The characters were: 1. A man who garbled everything and needed to speak more diction-ry;2. Google, who arrogantly claimed to be better, faster and smarter than the dictionary;3. A professor from the University of Dudley who wanted to improve the institution’s credibility by releasing his own version of the dictionary;4. And the letter ‘Y’ who had a persecution complex of Woody Allen-esque proportions.From there, the characters found love, had their dreams crushed and, in the case of the letter Y, perpetrated a mass genocide of all the other letters thanks to his drinking the primordial soup – a tin of Alphabetti spaghetti.I know, I know. And I warned you, you had to be there. But Watch This’ improve troupe have exactly what it takes to make it: they’re serious about their comedy, they get on fantastically and they’re clearly having a great time. But most importantly, they’re consistently and outrageously funny at a speed that makes you wonder whether or not the keyword was planted. There’s no doubt in my mind that they deserve a sell-out show with people queuing for returns round the theatre. You have to be there.

Since you’re here…

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The Blurb

Back for their sixth year, Watch This and their unique long-format improvisation show will take you on a hilarious journey ... where to? Not even your Auntie knows. With nothing prepared, seven experienced improvisers use an audience suggestion of one word as inspiration to create a wonderfully interweaving and original comedy. With improvised acting, singing and music from this talented troupe, an entirely different performance is created every night. One word. One troupe. One side-splitting show.

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