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The Noise Next Door: Chaos Control

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Marissa Burgess

This ‘secret agent’ improv troupe have several missions to achieve before the end of the show and they’re not going to let us out of the Portakabin ‘til they’re done. Well they probably would, I might be exaggerating a bit there. Wearing the uniform of black shirts and slacks with different coloured tie to mark each individual, they’re a sartorially tidy bunch. Their choreographed opening routine is an equally slick affair, and it’s a measure of things to come. Endearingly less neat is their homemade flipchart with secret agent ‘to do’ list which they work their way through the show, after stopping to tick off ‘wear black’ first.

The secret agent spin gives the improv idea a fresh slant but ultimately most of the games here are from the usual stable: adventures pause to incorporate audience suggestion and one member is sent out of the room so the rest can create a mission containing three disparate elements that he then has to guess.

Any decent improv troupe should be able to deal with pretty much anything a crowd throws at them and there’s always ways of fudging any crap suggestions. One member fends off the more unimaginative suggestions from the audience without offence with ‘if you don’t mind we’ve had that loads of times’.

The results on the night Chortle were in were fun and deftly accomplished though lacking in spark in places. Despite a couple of amusingly fumbled moments when one player (presumable not from the North West of England) didn’t know what a scally was and another is bemused by the location of Helsinki, the quintet are all skilled character actors transforming into ladies, strange hunched creatures and even Rolf Harris. Plus the audience participation section, in which they guide one poor sap through a scene, is nicely awkward, particularly in comparison to the lads’ acting skills.

Knockabout good fun? Tick.

Review date: 28 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess

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