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Oxford Review: Absolute Improv!

3 starsAt the Oxford Fringe
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

Do you remember when you first saw improv? A simpler, more innocent time, when seeing a bunch of people in different coloured t-shirts making it up as they went along was probably the funnest, most impressive thing in the world.

To Be Continued are an affable lot, who certainly haven’t let that love fade. On the day I saw them this hardworking group presented three shows in one day; I caught up with them on outing number two. They’re old hands at improv and the show is an informal affair with a fluid running order, making for a relaxed atmosphere.

The audience were fairly muted, which – while it discouraged anyone bellowing the perennially hilarious “gynecologist!” when asked to name an occupation – did mean things never quite got going. And the interactive elements, which can really make the experience special for the audience, weren’t entered into quite as fully as they could have been.

The problem was at least partly that the onstage energy was a bit low. An afternoon audience isn’t always going to come in raring to go, and sometimes need to be coaxed into joining in with improv. The trick with so many improv games is to make sure the audience understand the rules enough to really get involved, and this audience could have done with a bit more explanation to feel confident.

To Be Continued bring a lot of spirit to the classic games they play on stage – but on this occasion at least, they needed to lift the mood further, to allow the audience to enjoy the fun as much as the guys on stage did.

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