Blog by Steve Roe, co-founder of Hoopla Impro. Beginners Improv Course, Performance Improv Course, Narrative Long-Form Course and Stand-Up Comedy Courses starting in September. Improv Comedy Club every Tuesday at The Miller in London Bridge. Twitter: @HooplaImpro. Facebook: HooplaImpro. Website: www.HooplaImpro.com.
It's that exciting time of year when the Edinburgh Fringe programme thumps onto the doorstep. I've been working through the night like a massive comedy geek highlighting shows I want to watch. I'm mainly geared towards improv, but I've thrown in some stand-up, sketch and kids shows this year too.
This is based on the first sweep of the programme. I'll be adding some more hot cookies later once I find them, and feel free to contact me with suggestions for shows to add.
If you want more details on each show please click the link on each show to go through to the Ed Fringe website, which is main website for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Hoopla's Hot Picks
These are shows that are new to Edinburgh that I think could potentially be a breakthrough hit because they are likely to be good. Previous Hoopla Hot Picks included Austentatious, Luisa Omielan's What Would Beyonce Do, Lady Cariad's Characters, Humphrey Ker and Josh Widdicombe, who were indeed all breakthrough hits that year. These don't include already well known shows, they have to be relatively new.
The Play That Goes Wrong
For years this group were The Scat Pack, performing improvised comedy and one of my favourite improv groups (also see Lights! Cameras! Improvise!). Now they've taken on scripted comedy and this is their first major production. Boy oh boy the buzz about this is incredible. It started out at a small theatre in London and has already transferred to the West End before its even got to Edinburgh. The reviews are already amazing, with The Times and more raving about it. The performers in The Mischief are some of the most charismatic, funny and talented people I've ever seen on stage.I'd buy tickets for this now if I was you.
Joseph Morpurgo - Truthmouth
This has recently been promoted to our hot picks section as five separate people in London have told me it's the best show they've ever seen following his previews. Loads of buzz building up about this. Joseph
is also in Austentatious, which is an amazing show, and he's awesome in that too. First 1 hour solo show. Blatantly going for the Ed Fringe Best
Newcomer Award. Go Joe!
The Takeaway Story Show
The You & Me Theatre Company
A cool idea for a kids show where the actors improvise a story based on children's suggestions and props, and the kids then get to download a personalised storybook of the show they help make up. A neat idea and new way to use improv, and there is always a need for quality new kids shows. Directed by Matt Andrews who has done lots of improv at Edinburgh before and I think knows the audience really well. Should be a fun one, and I think worth watching even if you haven't got kids.
Also there are two (or more) improvised Shakespeare shows this year. See both, they both look awesome.
The School of Night's Spontaneous Shakespeare
This one features Dylan Emery, Adam Meggido, Sean McCann and more from the Showstoppers and Ken Campbell school of improvisers I wish I could improvise like. In fact next time I go on stage I'm going to pretend I'm one of these guys.
The new kid on the Shakespeare block directed by Jules Munns who has been doing awesome things in London with The Nursery Theatre and The Slapdash Festival of Improvisation, and whose improvised Shakespeare workshops recently ignited a massive interest in Shakespeare with huge impro spirit. I expect it to be fun and gutsy.
Random One Offs Not to Miss
Doctor Brown: Bexperiments
Ooohhhh this looks exciting. Clown Doctor Brown performs eight shows back to back over one day, each show taking the best of the previous until he creates the final complete show at the end. I'm sure people will be camped out for the entire duration, me included.
The Wrestling II
One year at Edinburgh I had a day off from watching shows, walked up a mountain, and found I had missed The Wrestling. For the whole of the next day every single conversation seemed to revolve around The Wrestling.
"Dude we've run out of tea bags."
"Did you watch The Wrestling?"
"No. I had a day off."
"Maaannnn, you should have watched The Wrestling."
"I climbed a mountain."
"You missed out."
"I climbed a .."
Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised
a couple of years I was put off this show by the alphabetical whore
title, and then I realised it had Tom Skelton in it who is possibly one
of my favourite improvisers to watch ever, and then I realised that it
also had loads of great reviews. And then I kicked myself for judging a
book by its title and not seeing it sooner. I'm going to watch this
show for sure.
Abandoman: Moonrock Boombox
hip hop from Rob Broderick and band, really good fun. I used to want to
be Rob Broderick when I grew up, and then I realised that he was
younger than me, and then I cried into my kebab.
To Be Continued...
Improv group that are actually from Edinburgh, support some local talent!
Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel
is such an awesome show. Improv crowds love it because it's great
improv. Comedy crowds love it because it's really really funny. Jane
Austen crowds love it because it's Janeaustenlike. Everybody loves it. I
can't believe it's free again, people will be queuing around the block so get there early. Earlier than that.
Baby Wants Candy: The Completely Improvised Full Bank Musical!
If you don't think improv is a massive thing then go and watch this and then change your mind.
BattleActs! Improvised Comedy - Free
Blind Mirth Improv Comedy
Bristol Improv Presents...
Bristol Improv scene has been growing even quicker than the London
improv scene this year, well done them, and there are some awesome shows
like this one coming out of it.
Cariad & Paul: A Two-Player Adventure
Cariad & Paul perform some of the finest improv shows I've ever seen.
Improvabunga - Some Sort of Improv Show
An Improvised Improv Show - Free Show
Well done Luc Valvona for putting this together. If you're an improviser and in Edinburgh go along to this and you can perform and get to network with other improvisers and have a big old jam.
Lights! Camera! Improvise!
One of my favourite improv shows, I love this group. An improvised movie that is hilariously funny and tells a great story. They also made one of our Hot Picks - The Play That Goes Wrong.
The Maydays: Confessions
The Maydays are the first improv show I ever saw live, and first people who taught me improv, and the reason I fell in love with improv in the first place. Great show, and amazing what an audience will confess.
Men with Coconuts
News just in! I'm guesting in this one! Fun Scottish improv show with sound effects.
The Noise Next Door: Soundhouse
The Oxford Imps
Imps alumni populate the elite of improv and comedy around the Universe, this is the show that starts them off.
Paul Merton's Impro Chums
Guess what? Paul Merton grew up in the same area as me. So I'll be the next Paul Merton! So went my logic when I started out in improv. I blame Wikipedia for these illogical life choices.
Quest For Comedy!
Improv from the Durham University team that has spawned some of our favourite improvisers over the years, many of them end up in London after graduation and they are awesome so looking forward to this.
Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans - Wonder & Joy
Did a show with some of these a couple of years ago and they were loads of fun. That's more of a personal anecdote than a review, but this is a blog not The Guardian dammit.
Bespoke Comedy for the Discerning Family
improv show for all the family, sounds good to me and there is a big
market for family friendly shows in Edinburgh so it should do well.
Shhhh - An Improvised Silent Movie
The Showstoppers' Improvised Musical
Massive hit every year, and rightly so. Musicals made up on the spot that are better than musicals that aren't made up on the spot.
This Is Soap: The Improvised Soap Opera
Improvised period costume drama that has been building up well on the London improv scene all year and ready to launch itself on Edinburgh.
The Wireless Podcast - Free
Sketch, Scripted Comedy
The Beta Males in ... Superopolis
show is becoming a must see every Edinburgh, it's really exciting to
see what they come up with, always fresh and exciting. Like starting a
school year with a new pencil case and a nice pencil sharpener.
Faulty Towers The Dining Experience
The Durham Revue: Friends Without Benefits
Four Screws Loose in Screwtopia!
Henson's Alternative Puppet Up!
The adults only wing of the Jim Henson puppet company.
Features Paul G Raymond and Luke Manning who are also in one of my favourite impro groups Shoot from the Hip.
Joy of Sketch
Good way to see lots of top sketch acts in one night in one place.
Cult kids TV show Knightmare brought to life on stage.
Max and Ivan: The Reunion
Like The Beta Males also a real Edinburgh must-see and different every year.
The Play That Goes Wrong
years this group were The Scat Pack, performing improvised comedy and
one of my favourite improv groups (also see Lights! Cameras!
Improvise!). Now they've taken on scripted comedy and this is their
first major production. Boy oh boy the buzz about this is incredible. It
started out at a small theatre in London and has already transferred to
the West End before its even got to Edinburgh. The reviews are already
amazing, with The Times and more raving about it. The performers in The
Mischief are some of the most charismatic, funny and talented people
I've ever seen on stage.I'd buy tickets for this now if I was you.
Group attempts to put on a Shakespeare play. Different member of the group gets blind drunk every night.
The St Andrews Revue
I saw one of them in the improv group Do Not Adjust Stage and thought I'd like to see him in whatever he was in. I didn't fancy him, he was just really good at the old improv and acting and comedy. So I've got a good feeling about this one. Edinburgh needs some new sketch groups too since Pappy's, Delete the Banjax and Penny Dreafuls aren't around so this should do well.
Who Ya Gonna Call?
A bunch of my favourite improvisers in a tribute to Ghostbusters, sounds amazing. I can't believe I haven't seen it yet, really looking forward to watching in Edinburgh.
Stand Up, Clown, Solo
Bound & Gagged Comedy
Spank, another good option for checking out some good quality stand up
with three top acts on one bill, different three acts each year. This
year with Luke Graves, Max Dickins and Joe Davies.
Adam Buxton: Kernel Panic
exciting, Alexei Sayle doing stand up again. When I was a kid I wanted
to be an astronaut, Steven Spielberg or a 1980s alternative comedian.
Alexei Sayle actually was one of those things, so I'm going to see him.
Beardyman: One Album Per Hour
The Boy With Tape On His Face: More Tape
love this show, I loved the way it made me, my Mum, my Dad and my
girlfriend all laugh out loud at the same time at the same thing. How
to see an established stand-up doing something different and ambitious,
branching away from his club
routines to do characters, touching story and his first 1 hour show.
I've met Max in improvland and he's awesome funny, especially at
characters. Go Max!
Doctor Brown: Bexperiments
this looks exciting. Clown Doctor Brown performs eight shows back to
back over one day, each show taking the best of the previous until he
creates the final complete show at the end. I'm sure people will be
camped out for the entire duration, me included.
Employees of the Month: Glenn Moore and Friends
I like to pretend that I personally know
the entire cast of Whose Line Is It Anyway and hang out with them all
the time. I don't, so this will be as close as I can get.
The Horne Section Live in a Cow
I was last at Edinburgh people wouldn't stop talking about The Horne
Section. "Have you seen The Horne Section yet? You have to see The Horne
Section. We're going to The Horne Section tonight. Meet you at The
Horne Section. Blah blah blah blah blah." So much so that I decided I
would never go and see The Horne Section, just because. I'm sticking to
this pointless stand, but you should go, because other people say you
Gamarjobat (ga-ma-jo-bat) Rock Out!
Very funny physical comedy.
Jerry Sadowitz: Card Tricks and Close Up Magic
Very offensive, very funny, and very magic.
A Lol-along-a Luc Valvona - Free Show
night comedy songs from a friendly bearded man you'd like to take to
the West Country and drink cider with until the morning.
Luisa Omielan: What Would Beyonce Do?!
One of our hot picks from last year that went on to have multiple sell out runs at The Soho Theatre and a nationwide tour.
Pun-based comedy club. I should really come up with a pun in this description but it's now 2:47 and I have toothache.
Rachel Parris: The Commission
Ross vs Violich - Pistols at 3:55pm
Coming out of the successful improv show Fat Kitten James Ross and Steve Violich are now taking on stand-up. I've got a good feeling about this. I haven't seen it yet, but I've got a good feeling about it. James Ross knows his Edinburgh, and Steve Vioich is one of those chaps who is good at everything but you still love him. I think James Ross will make it big in stand-up or governments will topple.
place to go to when you're not sure what you want to watch, as you get
to see loads of good acts for not much dosh. Proper walls sweating beer
in plastic cups what the fuck am I doing here late night Edinburgh
New play from The Spontaneity Shop's Tom Salinsky. I've heard good things about the rehearsed readings in the build up.
Bespoke Comedy for the Discerning Family
An improv show for all the family, sounds good to me and there is a big market for family friendly shows in Edinburgh so it should do well.
The Takeaway Story Show
The You & Me Theatre Company
cool idea for a kids show where the actors improvise a story based on
children's suggestions and props, and the kids then get to download a
personalised storybook of the show they helped make up. A neat idea and
new way to use improv, and there is always a need for quality new kids
shows. Directed by Matt Andrews who has done lots of improv at Edinburgh
before and I think knows the audience really well. Should be a fun one,
and I think worth watching even if you haven't got kids.
I'll be adding to this list as I look at the programme in more detail. Feel free to contact me with recommendations.
by Steve Roe,
co-founder of Hoopla Impro. Beginners Improv Course, Performance Improv Course, Narrative Long-Form Course and Stand-Up Comedy Courses starting in September. Improv Comedy Club every Tuesday at The Miller in London Bridge. Twitter: @HooplaImpro. Facebook: HooplaImpro.