Cambridge Impronauts present 2012: An Improv Oddessy (2 stars)

This article is from 2012.

Cambridge Impronauts present 2012: An Improv Oddessy - have emailed for image

Enthusiastic but rehearsed improv

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.

2012: An Improv Odyssey

  • 2 stars

Wanted - hardworking audience of spacefarers to fuel improvised frivolity with anarchic suggestion. Also to clean mysterious monolith defaced with depiction of banana god by mischievous monkey. Apply within, no psychotic computers bent on destruction please. Guffaw as pesky kids pinch the international space station and…

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1. Not rehearsed!29 Aug 2012, 2:04pm Report

Thank you for coming to see our show. I would just like to point out that we do not use 'well-practiced scenarios' during this show, it is entirely improvised. Anyone who saw more than one show would be able to confirm that each day the show is completely different, often with different improv games spontaneously woven into the narrative.

Additionally, I believe that the aubergine death ray was suggested during the warm-up not as part of the narrative.

We did have a challenge on our hands in the venue allocated to us but this was out of our control and I believe that we dealt with it in the best way that we could.

2. Maria P30 Aug 2012, 6:36pm

The sub heading may have given the wrong impression there - I simply felt that the paper scenarios that were passed around were well-thumbed and looked to have been used more than once.

With regards to the aubergine death ray (which was sadly missed!) it wasn't entirely clear from the back of the room what was going on. I'd be very interested to come back and see what you all could do with a new venue next year - or at another venue outside of the Fringe - like I said, 'considerable talent'.

(Please excuse pseudonym)

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