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Improvisation is, for most people, a terrifying prospect. The joy here is in watching the team gleefully and expertly face down that fear, using ingenuity, mutual trust and a great range of musical skill. The three-strong band (Duncan Walsh Atkins, Chris Ash and Craig Apps) switch styles and dream up tunes instantaneously, the witty, quick-thinking actors (on this occasion eggido, Ruth Bratt, Justin Brett, Pippa Evans, Andrew Pugsley and Sarah-Louise Young) create lyrics, dialogue, plot and deliver soaring numbers that would quite often not disgrace a fully fledged musical.
Although the set could hardly be skimpier (a handful of movable stage-flats, bare-brick surrounds), this is impro with the full accent on pro: top-dollar amusement that doesn’t let up from frisky, low-key start to standing ovation-inducing finish. It’s so polished, it defies belief.
There was plenty of snap, crackle and pop and an almost telepathic rapport between the performers. Tweeted interval suggestions prompted new set-ups, including an opening verbal montage of fake headlines, “Oxygen Gives You Cancer…Montages Give You Cancer”, sung in the style of Fiddler on the Roof.
I feared the worst, with an aversion to most devised shows and anything involving audience participation but this enterprise confounds all expectations.