P A U L   M E R T O N ' S   E D I N B U R G H   F E S T I V A L   F R I N G E   2 0 0 6

Paul Merton and his highly talented Impro Chums are wonders of nature. Impro Chums take audience suggestions and create cascades of fantastic tumbling laughter.

Most of the time.

"They turned my grey cells psychedelic"
--The Hindu.

Regular Chums are Suki Webster, Jim Sweeney, Lee Simpson and Richard Vranch.

  excellent fun
reviewer: Mr Toad's Troos, United Kingdom

as always. this is a brilliant romp througth impro madness. the hour passes in 10 minutes. it's a joy
  Paul Merton's Impro Chums
reviewer: Richard Gill, United Kingdom

I have seen a variation of this show many times both in London and Edinburgh and it is consistently funny. Five very talented improvisers play a series of games based on suggestions from the audience which makes every show different and inspired. Paul Merton is one of the quickest, wittiest, funniest and popular performers. His fellow improvisers were Jim Sweeney, Suki Webster, Lee Simpson and Richard Vranch. The winning formula of the show has proved very appealing for years and above all, it is very funny and recommended. Show rating: **** (very good)
  Consistent comedy
reviewer: Neil Stanley, United Kingdom

This is our third successive year at the Fringe investing our cash in Paul and his improve chums. Yet again he (and colleagues) make a good return on our investment and it was nice to see that he made himself available to answer questions after the show. Good to see Jim Sweeney playing his full part.
reviewer: Peter, United Kingdom

Very, very professional show which means there are no dull moments. Could go on for twice as long and I'd still be wanting to see more.
reviewer: Linzi, United Kingdom

A brilliant impro show - utterly hilarious. Paul Merton is my hero.
  Not enough superlatives!
reviewer: Diane, Scotland

Utter nonsense! Marvellous! Hilarious! Whatever else you do, donít miss this show.
  As always...
reviewer: Ruth , Edinburgh

  Saving on script writers
reviewer: Gordon Stewart, United Kingdom

The audience script write the show with improbable ideas and suggestions which are superbly intertwinned with absurd disturbed thought processes from the players to produce an hour of hilarious entertainment. Manages to hold the audience in raptures and leaving them wanting more and no doubt will be sold out next year as well.
  Fantastic Fun
reviewer: bob , Perthshire

There are not enough superlatives for this show. Fast, Funny, Fantastic Fun does not do it justice.
reviewer: Don Reilly, Ireland

Saw quite a few shows in The Festival and this was by far the best. Great performances by everyone concerned. Thanks Paul.
  the real deal
reviewer: matthew, United Kingdom

All new acts at the fringe should come and see the professionals do it. This show had class written all over it. It was the true meaning of improvisation and had the contemporay views and ideas that made a great show. All members of the cast were brilliant and funny in their own way creating a fantastic show! in perticular i found the way that all of the cast could change and react to any given situation from the audience, and still produce constant laughter is a perfect example of how good this show was. I must see show for anyone as it will make you laugh!

Paul Merton's Impro Chums

Pleasance Courtyard *****

Anyone who has ever see Whose Line Is It Anyway? on television or the Comedy Store Players on stage will know the format of this kind of show. Suggestions are taken from the audience, both on slips of paper handed in before the start and from things shouted out during the show. The performers then create short scenes, speeches or jokes from these suggestions on the spot without any preparation and try to make the audience laugh.

The line-up for this show is similar to two years ago: Jim Sweeney, Richard Vranch (who also improvises the music on keyboard), Lee Simpson and Suki Webster, plus, of course, Paul Merton. There are also some special guest improvisers lined up, and on the first show the guest was Comedy Store Players regular and TV star Josie Lawrence. The show consists of a set sequence of scenes which use information supplied by the audience and are then created and performed by the cast. When it works, it is very impressive and very funny - when it doesn't it can still be funny if the performers deal with it well.

These are all very experienced improvisers who deal with pretty much anything that is thrown at them, by the audience or - which is often worse - by the other improvisers. They deliberately block, drop one another into difficult situations and make each other laugh during scenes, but it is all part of the style of the show and is all good-natured and funny. And this show is very funny indeed, at times getting a large, sold-out audience all rocking with laughter in unison.

There are a growing number of shows in Edinburgh that claim to use improvisation, but if you want to see some of the top performers in Britain in this style of comedy, you should definitely try to get a ticket for this show.

David Chadderton

Paul Mertonís Impro Chums

Hilarious improvisation by Paul Merton and friends.

Paul Merton, Lee Simpson, Suki Webster, Richard Vranch and Jim Sweeney improvise for an hour using suggestions from the audience.

It would be difficult for any comedy show starring Paul Merton not to get five stars, even more so when he is accompanied by such a group of quick thinking performers from the Comedy Store Players.

At the beginning of the show the audience is asked to suggest some household objects and a character (in this case a toilet brush, washing machine and Scooby Doo). One cast member has to begin a story involving these and the story is passed randomly and arbitrarily to one of the others. Anybody hesitating or repeating themselves is eliminated until only one is left.

After this, Paul Merton leaves the room while the audience decides on an obscure occupation, which he has to guess when he returns (an assassin from Carlisle who is going to assassinate a mouse for identity theft!). Needless to say, with the help of his friends, he manages it easily but watching him get there is hilarious.

The show carries on in a similar vein for an hour, with barely a pause for breath. It ends with a variation on a Shakespeare play, again chosen by the audience. Those used so far include Thirteenth Night, A Midsummer Nightís Wet Dream, Omelette, A Whingerís Tale, Romeo & Julien and The Vagrant Of Venice. Try to think of one that will stump the panel (you wonít). Clever and very funny.


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