City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Lights! Camera! Improvise! Review

By Garry Platt - Posted on 05 August 2011

The Scat Pack
Show details
C Venues - C
The Scat Pack
Running time: 
Henry Lewis (Improviser & Artistic Director) Jonathan David Burke (Improviser & Company Director)
Nancy Wallinger, Henry Shields, Joey Hickman, Dave June Hearn, Joshua Elliott, Charlie Russell, Harry Kershaw, Mike Bodie,

Improvisational comedy can be a very hit and miss affair. The ability to create and follow a train of dialogue that is both coherent and funny and do it with only milliseconds to spare is not a talent many people have or can develop. Fortunately 'The Scat Pack' have found a bunch of them, seven to be precise with one master of ceremony.

This yellow and black garbed group of scallywags have added a nice edge to the improvisational format by creating an entire story and show with a beginning a middle and an end. The show is run like a DVD with the MC sometimes pausing, repeating or playing sections from other associated films. It's absorbing enough to add a layer of cohesion to what can otherwise be a rag bag collection of scenes, games and set-ups.

The show has one of the best openings I have seen so far (granted it's only day 2,, but nevertheless!). From the off, the audience is pulled in with requests and suggestions they make for the film they are about to watch. And then it begins, bizarre, incredible and ridiculous scenes unfold using the simplest of props and huge dollops of imagination.

It occurred to me while watching the show that improvisation is like mining. These improvisers dig for rich seams of comedy gold, hacking their way through the bland and boring sedentary layers and ignominious outcrops until they reach the rich deep seams of laughter bearing ores. And then they begin to process. Sometimes the group finds that a seam peters out or in fact becomes a fools' gold of no value and doesn't raise as a much as a titter. But occasionally, quite frequently in fact this group hits a mother load and the audience is reduced to hysterics.

One final observation I must make this whole process is supported by two musicians, a pianist and percussionist who are perfectly in synch with the mood, tempo and direction of the actors. Their contribution enhances the whole experience at an extremely powerful and subliminal level. The same must be said for the technical support, there are no lighting or sound cues here, they have to think on their feet with and sometimes ahead of the actors, the result is that their contribution is almost invisible but oh so powerful.

Show times 3 to the 29 August, 19:15

Ticket prices £6.50-£11.50