As I waited in line for Paul Merton’s Impro Chums, around the back of the Pleasance, next to the strategically and cleverly placed new bar, I was treated to an oddball conversation about Paul Merton’s Impro Chums from a pair of Morningside Grannies. By “treated to” I mean “accidental eavesdropping” but that’s a hazard all Fringe queue lines bring.
The conservation went like this;
”Of course, you know, there is no routine here. Just improvisation. My Billy said you should never pay to see improvisation. The comedian hasn’t even bothered to prepare anything.”
“Money for old rope.”
Dear me. I suppose I could see their point – there was no prepared script. I fear, though, the two had missed the point. Impro doesn’t mean lazy comedian. In fact, you could argue that the Impro Chums would have to work harder than most.
Their conversation got better.
”And you know… the ticket is just for Paul Merton’s Impro Chums. It doesn’t actually say he will be there.”
Good news. This local reviewer can confirm that Paul Merton is actually one of Paul Merton’s Impro Chums.
The other Impro Chums are Suki Webster, Richard Vranch, Lee Simpson and Mike McShane. I’m sure they all hate it but that’s collective that reminds me of “Whose Line Is It Anyway”. Clive Anderson is up in the Festival this year too. I know. I queued for hotdogs with him.
I’ve been to see the Chums in festivals past – and that really helps. There are some in-jokes. For example, none of the team want to be the last one standing when a scene starts to kill them off (typically in the Shakespeare game). Watch to see if they’re ganging up on anyone in the tag-in game too.
What you get from the Impro Chums is not just hard work – but lots of experience, skill and humour too. Although every Impro show is going to be different there is an foundation of excellence from which this show is built on.
I loved it. I was in hysterics. My eyes watered.