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Music Box Improvised Musical


C venues - C soco (venue website)
3-14, 16-29 Aug, 2:45pm-3:40pm

 Parental Guidance. Parents or guardians should consider the content of this show if children are attending.


How on Earth can anyone ad-lib a musical?  It’s hard enough just to speak off-the-cuff; simultaneously conjuring tunes, lyrics and a worthwhile plot seems beyond the average mortal’s imagination.  Ironically though, this mind-boggling feat has become almost commonplace at Fringe time, with established favourites Showstopper! the undisputed holders of the improvised-musical crown.  So aren't Music Box just cheap copycats?  Actually, no.

Here’s the science bit.  Unlike their big-name rivals, Music Box play a “pure” form of improv: one where there’s no off-stage conferring, no control-freak director, and no going back on a blurted-out line.  The possibility of failure is alarmingly real, but – like watching a high-wire circus act – it’s that very sense of danger which makes it rewarding to watch.  The result’s not as slick or polished as more pragmatic acts can achieve, but there’s a genuine sense of shared adventure about it all, and real strengths and weaknesses to both contrasting styles.

When we first saw Music Box in Brighton earlier this year, we five-starred their bizarre-yet-credible love story set in a Swedish aquarium – praising its ambition, creativity and humour.  The ensemble’s members can turn their hands to a vast range of musical styles, from the tense spine-tingler through to upbeat hip-hop.  The obligatory showstopping finale brought the musical themes together with finesse, and the plot, remarkably, had enough meat on its fishy bones to make us care about the characters’ dilemmas and dreams.

Improv, of course, is an unpredictable genre, and we can’t promise every show will be as good the one we saw.  But the talent’s certainly there, so if you’re looking for some seat-of-the-pants excitement – with plenty of laughter thrown in – it’s well worth opening the Music Box.

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