Paul Merton and his Impro Chums are always on my to-watch list for the Fringe. They’ll fill out the largest venue at the Pleasance Courtyard, every time, so book well in advance.
This year we had familiar faces in the Chums; Suki Webster, Richard Vranch, Lee Simpson and Mike McShane. They’re all so good it’s hard to pick a favourite out of the group.
Simply discussing the Impro Chums show is a challenge. It’s different each time. That’s the whole point as the experienced troop make things up as they go along. Simply put; there are a number of games, in which the audience feed seed ideas into, and the comedians take it from there.
Someone in the audience will always shout ‘spatula’. If that’s become a tradition then it’s not annoying the Chums yet whereas I recommend not suggesting they ad-lib something Brexit related as the suggestion will surely be vetoed.
The first game has a line of comedians take up a story using suggestions from the audience. In our case; a spatula and Alexander the Great. The lead storyteller is whoever is being pointed at, can switch at any time, even mid-sentence, and if you stumble or pause then you’re out.
Other games include translating for a foreign language discussing a weird expertise, interviewing a pundit on TV made up of three people and forcing Paul to guess which obscure job the audience has created for him.
Just how hard can it be to guess a job? Based on our suggestions in this game Merton had to figure out he was the person who paints Welsh road signs, with his fingernails, in Patagonia while wearing scuba gear.
Overall? If you love shows like Who’s Line is it Anyway then Paul Merton’s Impro Chums is definitely for you. If you’re curious; check it out. Just a tip; once you’re inside the venue strip down to your t-shirt and consider bringing a hand fan.