It is always difficult to judge the success of an improvised show on the basis of one performance. I will first explain that the murder I saw investigated was that of Jenny Wong, a tiny gravedigger who was found dead in a dentist’s in Salisbury with a Russian doll next to her. All this information was provided to the hosts of the show by the audience and very successfully incorporated into the plot by the four comedians starring in this performance. The cast for the show I saw were David Reed, Dan Renton Skinner, Amy Cooke-Hodgson and Charlie Partridge. They were all equally strong with their improvisations skills or equally terrible, depending on how you look at it.
This improv show does not attempt to appear polished in any way, the comedians continually pointed out each other’s contradictions and the detective couldn’t talk to the audience without momentarily corpsing. But none of that ruined the enjoyment of the evening. I was frequently in hysterics at the ridiculousness of the plot, which ended up in a ritual druid sacrifice at Stonehenge.
“a good opportunity to exercise the muscles of the diaphragm”
I wonder if there are any structures in place for the cast to follow. The show stars different comedians each night, all of who are starring in other shows at the Fringe this year. By the end of the story, the detective had been murdered rather than discover who did it (although that didn’t really matter as the audience know from the beginning who the murderer is) and we were still none the wiser as to how Jenny had been murdered, the post-mortem was completely forgotten as Jenny’s body was simply loaded into the back of a police car. The three comedians not playing the detective are given cards at the start of the show, one of which says guilty. The guilty party makes themselves known to the audience but not to the detective. Other than that I think the comedians are just let loose to elaborate on the bare bones of the case.
Ultimately, this was a highly enjoyable show performed by some talented comedians and hosted with flair. This show is just the tonic for the end of a day at the Fringe: a good opportunity to exercise the muscles of the diaphragm.
Criminal: The Improvised Murder Mystery is now playing at The Pleasance (Venue 23) until Aug 12 at 21:40 pm. Tickets available here.
Enjoying our Content?
If you are, then we have a favour to ask. We need your help. We want to keep our content free and with minimal advertising. We also have an incredibly hard working team that we feel should be rewarded! You can donate now and help us continue to grow and keep producing more of the content you love.