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The School of Night's Spontaneous Shakespeare
Published on Wednesday, 03 July 2013


Gilded Balloon Teviot (venue website)
14-25 Aug, 2:00pm-3:00pm

 Recommended for age 12+ only.

Think of an improv show, and you’ll probably think of madcap comedy from a gaggle of chirpy twenty-somethings. What The School Of Night do is rather different, but equally entertaining – and, if you’re the right kind of person, hugely rewarding too. Using actors from the hit improv musical The Showstoppers, the task they set themselves is no less than this: every day, they improvise a lost work of Shakespeare.

It’s a rare kind of comedy, but it’s comedy none the less. You can expect a lot of “bawdy” – Shakespearean rude bits – and a few arch digs at just how implausible some of the Bard’s plots really are. When we reviewed School Of Night back in 2011, we were treated to the tale of a wayward young prince, led astray by his colleagues and banished to a wasteland… a perfectly credible addition to the Folio, if you disregard the fact that the wasteland was Antarctica.

There is, perhaps, a touch of elitism about the concept; the whole thing’s targeted firmly at those who like their humour ostentatiously intellectual, like an obscure panel game on BBC4. But it is a remarkable feat of the mind, and there’s a special sense of wonder as the on-the-fly soliloquies emerge, in perfect iambic pentameter. So if you know your way around a sonnet, look no further: there’s educated entertainment waiting at the School of Night.

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