It’s Beginning To Improv A Lot Like Christmas – INTERVIEW – CSI: Crime Scene Impro, Dickensian Christmas Special

Welcome to a special themed set of interviews for the lead up to Christmas – celebrating all the wonderful festive shows that are on this year. I have sat down with a bunch of troupes to find out more about the shows that they are performing.

Today we speak to Lee of CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation about a show that they are performing over the holiday season. On the 9th December the troupe will be at the Museum of Comedy in London with a very special Christmas edition of their show with full Dickensian costumes. All the money raised at the show goes to charity, naturally i wanted to find out more.

Hello tell us all about CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation?

CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation is an improvised, murder mystery comedy play in which no one knows who the killer is: not even the cast! Every show is unique as the audience invents a victim, their occupation and an unusual method by which they were offed. From there we meet the suspects and see the aftermath unfold. With the help of a detective, the audience get to grill suspects in a line up, asking any questions they wish. Ultimately, it’s up to the audience to decide who’s off to the clanger. The cast genuinely don’t know who the murderer is until the audience point and shout “murderer!” A spontaneous, dramatic confession brings together everything from the audience and cast to explain how this bizarre crime came to be.

Crime Scene Impro has delighted audiences for years, having multiple sell out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe and Brighton Fringe whilst continuing to solve new cases monthly at it’s regular venue: the Museum of Comedy near Tottenham Court Road Station, London.


What is the show that you are bringing to London in this Festive season?

Every December we present a special Christmas edition: A Dickensian Murder Mystery in aid of Age UK. This year’s show is at the Museum of Comedy on December 9th with all proceeds going to charity.

Will there be a bit of festivity in your show?


We like to go all out for the season and the Christmas Carol twist on the usual show. It’s performed in full Dickensian dress with waistcoats, top hats, street urchins and delightfully floaty night gowns. Last year saw the detective played by Ebeneezer Scrooge himself as part of his community service. Of course, the show itself is unplanned but we know in this case that we’re deep in the snowy Dickens and it never fails to bring out the festive side of forensics.

What are your favourite things about the festive season and why?

There’s something genuinely joyous about a time of year in which we agree to indulge in something so kitsch and childish that it has to be heartfelt: paper hats, pantomime, the quintessential faux pas of combining red with green… It’s also simply a very important constant that no matter how we’ve struggled, triumphed or failed throughout a year, we’ll still get together to spend time with people we care about. I love all the specific trappings of the festive season as I personally know it but there’s a reason why a winter festival of togetherness is nearly universal.

This time of year the venues tend to be a bit busier as well – do you find that the audience changes at all?


Busier certainly. I think there’s a warmth from people knowing that we’re into a time for rest and celebration so the energy is undeniable.

What advice would you give for people performing around the festive season – is it important to drop a Christmas related theme into it?

At a basic economic level you’ve got a surging demand for something with a limited time frame so it certainly doesn’t hurt. But good work is good work all year round and there’ll be plenty of people who just want to see a good show and may have already been to three tinsel heavy events that week.


What is the best thing about a night at CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation for the audience?


That this is your show and will only ever happen once. We don’t pick on audience members so if you’d like to relax in a theatre seat and laugh for an hour you’ll have a great time. However, if you want to throw in your suggestions for the crime or get very involved in the questioning (audience members have picked up on some incredible levels of detail) we are all for it and you will always come away with a win. We love audience members ranging from the astute observations to theories about secret relationships and the heroes who shoe horn in a pun they’ve been sitting on for fifteen minutes. Everyone asking a question will feel they were rewarded for doing so.


If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?

Come find us and say hi on twitter, instagram and facebook @crimesceneimpro.

What is YOUR favourite show you have done this year and why?


The joy of this show is discovering the unique people and worlds that grow from any seed the audience supplies… but sometimes the audience gives you something so wonderful up front that the whole show feels effortless on a different level: This year in Edinburgh the inventor of the countdown theme tune was murdered with antique teeth.


And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?

It’s Your Show.



Best Christmas cracker joke and why?
What do you get when you cross a shark with a snowman? Frost Bite.

It’s not even funny. It’s almost not even wordplay. However, it’s been stuck in my head for over two decades so it must be doing something right.

Favourite Christmas film and why?
Rare Exports, it’s very darkly funny about the symbols and very heartfelt about the meaning.

What do you want for Christmas this year?
Always been a sucker for “piece of art from an artist you didn’t previously know about.”

What is the best adaptation in YOUR opinion of A Christmas Carol?

Muppets. That will be my answer to most questions.

Brussel Sprouts – Love or hate?
Love. I go mad for a solid green.

Favourite Christmas pop song?
Last Christmas. I love George Michael enough to have a cardboard cut out of him in my kitchen.

Can you name what happens on the 12 days of Christmas in the song?
Name it? Certainly. Explain it? I’m less sure. The logistics of all those gifts seems like a lot of work on the part of the receiver.

Favourite Christmas Food and why?
Pigs in blankets; it’s the meat equivalent of the chocolate centre to your chocolate.

Were you ever part of a nativity play at school? What role were you given?
I was Joseph and took a suitably proto-method acting approach to the role by not fully understanding what was happening but being happy to be there.\

What is your favourite Christmas episode of any TV show?
The Simpsons: Marge Be Not Proud.

A big important question is Die Hard a Christmas film?


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