ComedyFeaturedReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation – Komedia Studio

Reviewer: James Walsh

A glossy, professional improv show with a fun theme and pleasing levels of audience interaction.

These detectives are a hard-bitten bunch. After five successful years of solving crimes at the Edinburgh Fringe – not actual crimes, improv is a traditionally made-up genre – CSI are back in Brighton for a winning mash-up of police procedural and murder mystery antics.

The audience are on board from the start, even though, based on a rough cheering-based survey, half of them are at an improvised show for the first time. This is a credit to the troupe, who coax out the shyer suggestions with warmth and charm.

Reviews Hub likes its improv like it likes its coffee – boiling over and ruining the stove. Yet there is much to enjoy in such a polished, clearly defined, and well-understood theme as the whodunnit.

The audience are all hired as detectives to help the case along, and to decide the where and how of the murder.

It’s often difficult to explain an improv show without it sounding too undergraduate wacky, in a “oh my god Sebastian, that’s totally random!” kind of way, but the CSI players steer us away from the dafter suggestions (sharpened board game as a murder weapon) to one’s with a little bit more narrative possibility (high powered pen torch).

The idea of quite how long a torch would take to kill someone, and the practical implications thereof, are quickly and delightfully explored, as is the wider world of the victim (occupied: gong cleaner).

The first half sets the scene, as we are introduced to the assorted suspects, see the web of their relationships, lives and lies, and we are invited to question them over their evasions and discrepancies.

This is where the audience comes into their own, with questions both craftily leaning and outrightly stupid lead the cast in unexpected directions and off-the-cuff remarks that may come back to haunt them later.

Who could it be? The Scottish husband of the deceased, engaged in a series of holidays and affairs with other members of the spiritual commune?

The salami-slicing American with the wild energy? Or the uptight vibrations expert with a jealous streak running through her like green through a stick of rock?

This is a funny, relaxed, and satisfying show. These are practiced performers, with individuals knowing when to sacrifice their own stage time for the greater narrative.

The only mild criticisms one can give is that if anything the cast were too comfortable. Mistakes are part of what make improv fun, and beyond a cast member mangling Fred Flintstone’s catchphrase, leading to a series of callbacks and the odd character-break, the hour whooshed by on smooth rails without ever really heightening to true madness.

And perhaps the audience, who seemed to catch on to their role quickly, could have been utilised even more regularly.

Still, when the end came and the culprit was revealed, justice was done and everyone went home happy – apart from the murderer, of course.

Runs to 1st June.

The Reviews Hub Score

Glossy Professional Improv

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
The Reviews Hub