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St Andrews Presents - Blind Mirth Improv Comedy
Published on Sunday, 19 August 2012
4

4 stars

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (venue website)
Comedy
3-4, 6-11, 13-18, 20-25 Aug, 9:05pm-9:55pm
Reviewed by Martin Lennon

 Recommended for age 14+ only.
 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.

Improv comedy is maybe not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of picturesque seaside St Andrews, but Blind Mirth have something to say about that. They arrived at the show in the Surgeons Hall with black and white baseball jackets, ready to impress the sold-out gig. Thankfully the crowd didn't leave disappointed by what was a surreal and unpredictable evening.

The group, consisting of students from St Andrews University, has been officially active for about sixteen years. The four women and four men on the lineup – who seemed to hail from both sides of the Atlantic – were experimenting with different improv scenarios and ideas to please the crowd. The show started with typical games such as Short Form, where the audience shout out suggestions which the improv members acted out. But the gig was fast-flowing and developed into some other improv games, like taking the contents of an audience member’s wallet and creating stories from it.

Improv is by nature a difficult thing to get right consistently, and a few ill-timed jokes can really upset the balance. However, the chemistry among the group was fantastic as they got their timing spot on, and were able to complement each other’s jokes. In particular, one gentleman called Jasper was the standout member. His reactions and comic timing matched that of any stand-up comedian.

As a group, they were able to dream up bizarre surreal situations that kept the gig flowing. It didn't matter if it involved playing a demented librarian or a zoo animal; their strength definitely lay in their fast-thinking reactions, and adapting these to the surreal scenarios. They displayed a maturity and depth that was surprising for a group of people who were still in their twenties and thirties.

One criticism was that the “content of the wallet” joke went on longer than it should have. You got so lost in the story that it became baffling to consider whether the story still related to the wallet at all. With it being improv it is also understandable that some members would hog the limelight more than others, but one young lady barely contributed, showing a lack of initiative which was slightly disappointing. Having said that, I of course saw just one night’s performance, and most improv groups suffer from an imbalance at times.

Blind Mirth St Andrews certainly have a bright future ahead of them. As individuals or a group, I am sure they will make positive strides at this year’s Fringe. Their ingenuity and vibrancy is infectious… and if you see them, you’ll catch the bug.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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