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The Scat Pack – Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Posted by on 30/07/2011 • Categorised in Theatre

The nature of comedy, the feelings and emotions it generates, often leads it to being dismissed or diminished as a genre. Something that you enjoy, something that leaves you feeling happy, light-hearted and satisfied cannot be as sophisticated, as moving and intricate as something that makes you cry and hurt and that evokes different upsetting emotions from you– can it? It is this perception which often leads to comedy being overlooked as the poor cousin of tragedy, requiring less effort and skill to produce and requiring less thought or analysis prior to the event, and yet, as The Scat Pack demonstrate in their latest two shows nothing could be further from the truth:

Mogic

A scripted comedy show where clowning, farce and slapstick meet the illusion and mystery of magic in a union which delights and enthrals. Upon entering the theatre the audience are greeted with the site of a giant wooden crate on stage. We soon learn that this is a luxury magic kit, purchased by our host magician for the show and which has, unfortunately, only just arrived. The magician and his assistants then begin to perform the tricks in the kit with the aid of the instruction tape provided.

The actors perform their roles with excellent comic timing and characterisation provoking raucous laughter from their audience – particularly the down trodden male assistant, forced to wear the female assistant’s costume, who’s fumbling timid-ness and squeaked protests of health and safety add another element to the performance.

The show itself is very clever; the character’s inexperience with the tricks combined with their misunderstandings of the instructions allows them to reveal how some of the tricks are done much to the satisfaction of the audience. However, these revelations also stand in contrast to those tricks they do not reveal, which, performed with such skill and fluidity, constantly take the audience by surprise.

Mogic is a wonderfully satisfying evening of entertainment guaranteed to make your face ache with laughter. The show is unlike any I’ve seen before, revealing yet mysterious, bewildering yet amusing, my only worry is that the magic community might lynch them for revealing too much.

Lights Camera Improvise

Writing a review of an improv show can often be a difficult task, as obviously the show itself, which is created from an audience suggestion of genre and title, changes every night. The premise however remains the same, The Scat Pack have chosen to stage their improv show in the style of a movie, with a director guiding and shaping the action. He asks the audience for their choice of genre and title and the other seven performers produce the show.

The show I saw was entitled “Turd Rock from the Sun” and was a sci-fi thriller about a sewage system on Mars. The troup quickly established interesting and memorable characters, and, with guidance from the director, produced a show which was both entertaining and funny.

The director did a wonderful job of guiding the performance, providing comments on the action to the benefit, and often detriment, of his fellow performers. While his comments often highlighted the best bits of the action and did indeed save the performance in several places, his interruptions did become irritating at times. He could alsohave better used his power in navigating the action, with more rewinds, fast forward or skips instead of relying so heavily on the pause function of his remote.

The performers themselves worked together well, often bringing back characters or information from previous scenes, creating the illusion of a scripted piece which lead to a very professional and fluid performance.  Their comic timing was brilliant and their awareness of the audience allowed them to quickly realise which characters and story lines to focus on and which to phase out. They supported each other well, covering each other’s mistakes and fully embracing the scenes their co-stars set up, including a full west-end musical scene complete with opening song.

As with any improv show there were mistakes, characters and names were forgotten or changed throughout the performance, more than one performer was caught corpsing, and misunderstandings did occur. However the cast coped well throughout the performance, supporting each other through the inconsistencies and commenting on the mistakes where appropriate, to allow them to re-establish their control over the action, creating a show which appeared both effortless and hugely enjoyable.

Lights Camera Improvise is a fantastic show, at times it was hard to believe the performance was created on the spot. The cast are tuned into each other and their audience to such a degree that they create a show that was a delight to witness. It is definitely worth a watch.

The Scat Pack perform in Edinburgh: at C Venues – C+3 from 3rd-29th August 2011 (excluding the 16th) at 19:15

For more information and to book tickets please click here

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