Every year in August, the comedy world and gazillions of tourists go to Edinburgh. I’m one of those tourists, so I made it my mission to discover live shows for you film lovers.
The Mischief (formerly known as The Scat Pack) are an improvisational comedy group whose show has one theme, film. For those who don’t know much about improvisational comedy, think of the 90’s TV show Whose Line is it Anyway. The TV show is what’s known as short-form which involves lots of different suggestions from the audience and lots of different ‘games’. Lights! Camera! Improvise! is what is known as long-form. It has a suggestions at the beginning, and one hour long show which has different elements to move the show along and stop you getting bored.
The show is MC’d by ‘Oscar’ who acts as your showy sarcastic friend whose house you’ve gone to. Oscar has (almost) every film imaginable in is DVD collection. He also controls the remote. The show also includes a handful of performers and an invisible controller of lights and creators of music.
Oscar opens the show by taking suggestions from the audience about what film they’d like to watch today. The show we watched was a fantasy set in Hell named ’50 Shades of Red’. He’s not a host that will lie down for his guests however, he is quick to say no to suggestions that he doesn’t like. Part of me is sad that we couldn’t watch the Bollywood film set in Sunderland called Pavement of Regret, but I guess that’s not to everyone’s taste.
With full control of the remote, Oscar guides us through the film, pausing and making sarcastic comments, rewinding or fast forwarding or showing you clips from related films. Oscar, drunk on the power of wielding the remote, takes great delight in instigating challenges and sticky situations for his fellow performers. The black and yellow clad performers do an impressive job of instantly assuming various characters (and parts of the scenery and even effects) and remembering them as the show jumps from scene to related film back to other scenes in the previous film. The only tools they have to work with is two clothes rails of various clothes, hints at costumes, a few pieces of furniture and a boat load of imagination.
Any screen writers out there will tell you that it takes a lot of experience and skill to create a good story which has a beginning, middle and end with enough drama in between…and…time it for an exact run time. This is what The Mischief do for every show, on the fly. Not only do they do all this, but they have to find jokes as well. Hollywood “wacky comedy” writers are paid millions to come up with something a fraction as funny as this.
At one point, the cast started singing during a ‘flashback’ and the scene turned into a cheesy music video. I’m not aware if this is something they do for every show, but it’s impressive if not a bit awkward. It’s also easy to forget the invisible musicians who’ve created the score, the soundtrack, the sound effects and somehow can telepathically sense the performers are now going to sing a song…!
The black and yellow outfits must have been a prophetic choice as The Mischief (formerly known as The Scat Pack) are a well honeyed bee hive seemingly acting as one mind. If you’re visiting the Edinburgh Fringe and you’re a film fan, this is definitely a show to see. If you’re not a fringe go-er, don’t fear, the London based Impro group hold regular performances in the capital as well as touring nationally.
Lights! Camera! Improvise! can be seen in Edinburgh at:
THE EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL 2012
UNDERBELLY – BRISTO SQUARE
Location: Bristo Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9AL
Date: 1st – 27th August 2012
Time: 4:50pm (1hr)
Book online by clicking here
Book by phone on 0131 226 0000
Tickets: £10.00 – £11.00 (£8.00-£9.00 concession)
Or you get details of their future shows on their website.
Want to know what to expect? Check out a the trailer they made from the show I have just reviewed… or take a look at their YouTube channel.