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David Porter » Reviews » The Improvisers

The Improvisers

Theatre Royal, Norwich

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 12 July 2005

The Improvisers

Most actors act. Some improvise. Some tell jokes. A few are stand-up comics. Some comics perform a good yarn.

But to do and be all at once takes a special performer – one of The Improvisers, in fact.

Stephen Frost brought his crack team of improvisers to town, his theatre without a safety net, and almost the only time we stopped laughing was to draw breath.

It’s one thing to go on stage with barely a notion of the way a sketch could go, but to be at the mercy of what the audience calls out – that’s another league.

Some audience suggestions teetered on the obscene, but were skilfully paried. Others strayed into the obscure (yetis in the shed), the bizarre (duck olympics) and the plain peculiar (grandma’s wake).

But nothing really fazed them. Every idea opened a flood of comic turns, twists and experiments.

The sheer speed of responses and gags, from the witty to the clever, the sublime to the ludicrous, was so impressive.

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