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AAA Stand-Up 2012
AAA Stand-Up Late 2012
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! It's The Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award Show
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! Monster Stand Up
Aaaaaaaaaaaaarghh! It’s the Greatest Show on Legs
Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised 2012
Aaaand Now For Something Completely Wireless
Aaron Twitchen's Quarter Life Crisis
Abandoman: Party In The Key Of C Major
Aberdeen vs Glasgow vs The World 2012
Abigoliah Schamaun: Girl Going To Hell
About Comedy: Stand Up Comedy Courses 2012
Absolute Improv! 2012
Adam Belbin: Half of Next Year's Show
Adam Hills: Mess Around 
Adam Larter: Happy New Year
Adam Strauss: Varieties of Religious Experience
The Adult History Of Great Britain Part 1
After Hours Comedy 2012
Afternoon Delight 2012
Aidan Killian: Free To Obey
Al Murray The Pub Landlord: The Guv’s Olympic Pub Quiz
Al Murray: The Only Way is Epic
Al Pitcher: Tiny Triumphs
Alan Anderson: Whiskey Fir Dummies 2.0
Alan Davies: Life Is Pain
Alan Francis Expands
Alan Hudson's Not So Secret World of Magic
Alan Sharp: Careful What You Wish For
Alexis Dubus: Cars & Girls
Alfie Brown: Soul For Sale
Alfie Moore: I Predicted A Riot
Ali Shahrukhi: Leaves On The Line
Alistair Barrie: Urban Fogey
Alistair Green: Jack Spencer in Why Anything?
All Bout The Craic!
All Star Stand-Up Showcase
All The Fun of the Unfair 2012
Allo Allo [Edinburgh 2012]
Alpine Horn with Flange Krammer
Always Be Comedy
Amateur Transplants: Adam Kay's Bum Notes
Amused Moose Comedy Awards Showcases 2012
Amused Moose Comedy Awards: Grand Final 2012
Amused Moose Laughter Awards ‘Top Ten’ Semi-Final 2012
Amy Wright: Occupied
Andre King: An Audience with the King
Andrew Bird's Global Village Fete
Andrew Doyle: Whatever It Takes
Andrew Lawrence is Coming To Get You
Andrew Maxwell: That's The Spirit
Andrew O'Neill and Marc Burrows Do Music and Comedy and Hideous Murders
Andrew O’Neill Is Easily Distracted
Andrew Ryan: Ryanopoly
Andrew Watts: Born To Be Mild
Andy and The Prostitutes
Andy Wilkinson: My Name Is Not Smug Roberts
Angela Barnes & Matt Richardson
Angus & Cameron: Village Idiots
Anna Morris: Dolly Mixture
Anne Edmonds In My Banjo's Name Is Steven
Anthony King: Songs of Love and Death
Appointment With The Wicker Man
Arguments & Nosebleeds
Armageddapocalypse: Threat Level Dead
Arnie Pie: Because I Felt Like It
Art Of Procrastination
As of 1.52pm GMT on Friday April 27th 2012, This Show Has No Title
Asher Treleaven: Troubadour
Ashley Frieze: Discograffiti
The Aspidistras - Hi Noon!
Assembly Gala Press Launch 2012
The Assembly Rooms The Very Best of the Fest
Auntie Myra's Fun Show
Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel 2012
An Austrian And Someone From Slough
The Axis of Awesome: Cry Yourself A River
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel 2012
Undoubtedly one of the most talked about shows on the improvised comedy circuit, Austentatious: An Improvised Novel is an hour long comedy play spun in the inimitable style of Jane Austen – and based entirely on audience suggestions. A seasoned cast including: Cariad Lloyd, Rachel Parris, Amy Cooke-Hodgson, Joseph Morpurgo, Graham Dickson & Andy Murray present an eloquent, irreverent, 100% improvised take on the works of Britain’s best-loved novelist.
Austentatious: Fringe 2012
Such is the enduring appeal of Jane Austen, that his is probably the biggest free hit of the Fringe: fans have been queuing around the block to get in each morning, scores turned away disappointed.
Because of that pre-existing audience, it would be easy for the six-strong cast of this full-length improvised Austen novel to rest on their laurels. But no, this is as brilliant a piece of improv as you can expect to find on the Fringe, performed in period costume and with a live violin accompaniment – production values you don’t expect on the Free Festival.
Maybe that’s what’s drawing the big crowds because, in short, this excellent show is exactly the sort of thing that ought to have the paid venues worried.
The entire hour is improvised around a single audience suggestion – the title. After a leading international Austenologist pulls a couple of ideas from the basket to explain why those aren’t being performed, the chosen slip of paper is carefully unfolded to reveal that today we will witness a stage presentation of that great Austen classic: Darcy Does Dallas.
From that, and nothing else, the trio employ every cliché of the genre to play out a mannered period romance of snubs, yearning and ultimate fulfilment. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve never read an Austen, this is a slick and funny narrative comedy that would be entertaining even if it wasn’t created on the fly.
For unlike so many other improvisers, this group – known as the Milk Monitors – do not rely on their struggles to get the laughs. There are proper jokes here, with skilful performances of silly characters. Of course they occasionally stumble over an idea or line, even though the show is remarkably fluid, but these then become running jokes of the show joining clever comebacks that spread across scenes.
Dallas turned out to be a male cousin back from the Americas (played by Joseph Morpurgo with a southern drawl) bringing back news of the new-fangled ‘boogaloo’ which his relatives were very keen he unveil at the ball in his honour. The big dance is an Austen set piece that’s presumably one of the structural tentpoles holding up this adlibbed story.
Cariad Lloyd has a great physicality to her performance, pawing stupidly at the on-stage husband (played with suitable pseudo-decorum by Graham Dickson) whom she cannot keep her hands off in cringingly flirtatious scenes – but all six players, and their violinist, bring sharp minds to the job in hand. They riff at each other’s expense and top jokes with exquisite taglines, yet are confident enough to underplay some of the gags, knowing they are not so sparse don’t need to point them out.
Even when a man fell ill in the audience, disrupting the flow and atmosphere of the piece, the team slickly dealt with it with perfect professionalism. They quickly brought the laughs back and continued with the story, even with a reduced cast while some of their members attended to him outside, missing a bit of the plot in the process. (The man was fine, in the end).
Forget qualifications about being free or being improv. This is one of the most impressive comedy shows on the Fringe. Camp out early.
|Date of live review: Friday 17th Aug, '12|
Review by Steve Bennett
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