Improvised by: The Closer Each Day Company and Degrees of Error
Reviewer: Beth Steer
Christmas Crackers– the latest improvised comedy from the Closer Each Day Company and Degrees of Error (the group behind Bristol’s cult-hit improvised soap opera,Closer Each Day) – has come to the Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol for several nights of improvised festive fun.
Promising never to be the same show twice, the ‘new super-group’ of comedians takes inspiration from the audience to create off-the-cuff skits and sketches that have the audience laughing out loud. And, as the show is created (and recreated for each performance), there is a real sense of not knowing just what exactly might happen, and that the actors are, at times, just as surprised as those watching.
Based on a family Christmas, with three brothers and two sisters, the comedians gather on the mini amphitheatre-style stage and welcome all the long-lost relatives of the audience, greetingand interacting withcousins, aunts and estranged uncles.
Using Christmas cracker jokes (each pulled with the audience) and questions from those targeted on the spot, the comedians thenreact to and develop little comedy-bites, in a Whose Line Is It, Anyway? style performance. It is interactive and, while perhaps a little slow to start, rolls quickly into a laugh-out-loud show, as the audience grows braver, and the comedians react to the ever more outrageous and bizarre prompts.
Hilarious scenes with improvised songs – based on Uncle Bill’s mix-tape that one of the actors finds under the Christmas tree, recreations of classic Christmas films and skits that involve audience members being the arms of the actors – turn the audience from nervously looking down and not wanting to be picked on (which can be so true of comedy performances), to everyone wanting to get involved in the fun.
Andrew Kingston, as one of the brothers, is a real stand out act – he is witty and incredibly quick, assuming different accents and cameo rôles flawlessly and hilariously. Lindsey Garwood, too, as a sister, leads the charge on the over-the-top enthusiasm for Christmas, and is a talented singer and performer.
The Wardrobe Theatre is the perfect venue for such a performance – with its theatre tucked away at the back of a busy restaurant and bar – makingChristmas Crackersfeel like a festive treat that not too many are yet tostumble across.
With brilliant actingand a festive atmosphere,Christmas Crackersis a great – and budget-friendly – choice for a night of authentic, improvised comedy.
Runs until19 December 2015 | Image: Contributed