Them With Tails/Professor Bumm's Story Machine

  • 11 August 2006

This article is from 2006.

Children are better versed in improvisation than adults. Watch them playing and you’ll see the art of making-it-up-as-you-go-along being practised to a high level. That’s possibly why grown-up performers have been slow to get in on the act.

This year, though, you can see extemporising Muppets at the Assembly Hall, Phil Kay inventing freewheeling games in Gimme Your Left Shoe and these two story-based improv shows by The Black Sheep and Tall Tales.

Of the two, Them with Tails (lllll) is the classiest. The two actors gradually introduce improvised elements into their daft animal fables until the final story which is dictated entirely by the audience. It’s silly, slick and very funny.

Professor Bumm’s Story Machine (lllll) relies less on interaction and more on the performers’ associative skills as they run through a series of storytelling techniques to make up for their malfunctioning machine. It’s throw-away fun that delights the audience. (Mark Fisher)

Professor Bumm’s Story Machine, Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 20 Aug, 1pm, £7; Them with Tails, Assembly Rooms, 226 2428, until 28 Aug, 11am, £7.50-£8.50 (£6.50-£7.50)

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