There’s no shortage of improvised comedy at the Fringe, but this may well be some of the most amusing, and consistently well executed.
Their premise is simple: 3 ‘players’ on stage take suggestions from the audience as a basic platform for completely improvised scenarios. The resulting sketches are often absurd, but that only adds to their genuine, uproarious hilarity.
They use a variety of different games, one of my favourites was ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’; where each player must sing a song, based on a topic chosen by the audience, to the tune of the classic Crystals hit. The night I went, show-goers gave some pretty random suggestions, ‘heraldry’ being a memorable example. Despite this, all the players coped admirably. Of course the occasional scene falls flat, but the vast majority are wildly entertaining.
The players clearly know each other very well, and this is reflected by their unity on stage. It never comes across as 3 comedians, battling to prove who can be funniest. Rather, a cohesive unit, who are often willing to defer to each others’ ideas, and it makes for a much better performance. This show suits its 11.30pm slot perfectly; it feels like ‘adult’ comedy, yet they almost never resort to smut to keep the laughter coming. Audience participation is kept optional, and therefore enjoyable.
And the venue, beneath Moriarty’s on Lothian Road, lends itself well to this kind of comedy. It is a cosy enough space that the room always feels, or often is, full. Tollcross, while only a 10-minute walk from central, is like a little break from the Royal Mile/George Square madness.
It’s quite easy to get Fringe’d out in August, but this feels more like wandering into your local and being met with the happy surprise that you’re about to have an hour of free laughs. An added side bonus: if you wish to make like a cool native (who is totally nailing the Fringe), this is a great place to take your friends.
There are no frills; they don’t have a technician, and music is provided by keyboard or occasionally guitar. But they really don’t need anything else, the comedy speaks for itself.
The Wimps Show is on every night except Mondays, 23.30, Laughing Horse @ Moriaty’s (Venue 332)