This summer my brother and I went to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival in Scotland. For the festival, the whole city turns into a theatre extravaganza. The festival is the largest art festival in the world, and gives young artists and performers the opportunity to display their talents. When more than 3,000 plays are put on in one month, there is a high chance of seeing a crap show–I’m talking horrendous. One show we saw was a murder mystery improvisation comedy. We paid 10 quid to watch people talk over each other and make awful alphabet pun jokes.
My cousins from England met us in Edinburgh; all the shows they booked for us were fantastic. “An Improvised Jane Austen Novel” was filled with witty jokes. It was very well put together and you could tell that it wasn’t a pre-done Mad Libbed improvisation.
We also went to a comedy show called “The Noise Next Door.” This quintet performs well executed improvised comedy. At the end of the show they sang a boy band type song with very crude lyrics to a woman in the audience about her favorite things. Every night they have two surprise stand up comedians do a short piece at the beginning of the show. After the comedians join in on the rest of the skits. The stand up comedians present a funny contrast to the improvisers who were more accustomed to coming up with ideas and saying “yes” to being a dinosaur.
The last play I saw, which took me out of my comfort zone, was called “The Curing Room.” “The Curing Room” is about seven Polish soldiers who are locked in a room by Nazis and try to survive by any means they can. There is full frontal nudity throughout the play, but after the first few scenes the male anatomy doesn’t seem to matter. As the days progress the soldiers lose their sanity and begin to kill and eat one another. The soldiers keep their army rank throughout the play; it is reassuring for them because it is a reminder that they are human and they have a place in society.