Cambridge Impronauts present 2012: An Improv Oddessy
Enthusiastic but rehearsed improv
This article is from 2012.
Of the glut of improv the 2012 Fringe has brought in, the Cambridge Impronauts’ bright blue boiler suits promised a well-organised stint of audience participation and laughs. The Oxbridge colleges (and Edinburgh’s own university) appear to revel in the format, so hopes might be held reasonably high for the youthful troupe.
The unorthodox use of space in the venue is the most immediate let-down, with the actors having to wage battle with a mechanical boxing machine and various nooks and crannies just to gain an area that could be called a stage. The seating prevents all but a few at the front from having any real connection with the show, and the daylight and bustle of Cowgate streaming in through un-shuttered windows merely adds to the disarray.
Despite an enthusiastic entrance and upbeat beginning, the Impronauts unfortunately weave an overly complicated and convoluted performance based on a series of scenarios which are obviously well-practiced. The initial audience participation is simply a matter of filling in the blanks in these pre-ordained stories, and there's little opportunity to get involved afterwards. Even the happily conceived aubergine death-ray is entirely forgotten early on in this sci-fi romp, and frequent references to free theatre and donations are a little tacky.
The saving grace of this particular Improv Odyssey was the compere’s endearing ability to keep the flow and pick out points at which to reverse the format and add events of interest, such as the sudden change to ‘director's commentary’ or the addition of a witty observation. That is not to say that there isn’t considerable talent amongst this youthful gathering (the musical interludes and vocal orchestration alone deserve a mention), but the format should have been tweaked for a Fringe audience.
Rush Bar, run now ended.