Funny At The Fringe – Preview Review – Shaken Not Stirred: The Improvised James Bond Film

Date of the Review: 10/7/19
Location: Katz Theatre, London Bridge 

Todays show takes place in London Bridge in a theatre that is located at the bottom of a bar – the good thing about the location of Katz is that it has a real Fringe feel about it so to actually see a preview in a venue like this is pretty exciting as it has the right vibe straight away. Shaken Not Stirred is a regular show at Edinburgh now with fans ranging from Improv fans to David Walliams so I was intrigued to see why this show has been creating a stir in the comedy scene. This year the show is changing its style and format as it is not a twoprov anymore instead of for the first time ever there is an expanded cast, so it was the perfect time to see the show to see the new format it is taking up to the Fringe.

When you enter the room you are welcomed to a film festival where the latest James Bond Actor has dropped out and the film is now going to be improvised on the spot so you can get a sense of what the new Bond was going to be like. The name of the film you are about to see in the hour comes from audience suggestions that are written onto mini clipboards and then one is chosen at random at the top of the show.

Before the show begins the audience are welcomed to the ideology of improv in a fun and charming manner that already introduces you to the talents of the original duo Alexander Fox and Dom O’Keefe – you can tell they are a double act that have worked with each other for years as you can feel the chemistry from the get go and there are a few celebrity impersonations thrown in as well.

Before the film can begin the audience have to choose what style of Bond they want the shows film in the style of and the audience choose Daniel Craig – I think I would of preferred to of seen it as an older Bond to see how the guys approach gadgets and what they come up with but I was intrigued off the top how they will approach a Daniel Craig Style improvised Bond. The audience are asked to give the Bond a secret that he will slowly reveal throughout the ‘film’ and the audience suggestion is a multiple personality disorder.

I was expecting it to go straight into the narrative but they did one better and created a whole opening titles sequence – the way they portrayed the gun being shot at the camera was very funny and completely unpredicted that it was very clever. Whilst the music at the top was a lot of the Bond songs mixed together with improvised words – I personally would of preferred a completely improvised music melody that was different as hearing different lyrics to Live and Let Die seemed a bit strange – good but strange and would of been nice to have music that I didn’t automatically associate with another Bond. Saying that the opening improvised movie sequence by the players was very good and a great way to open the show.

The shows story tonight is about a shortage of Cushelle toilet roll leading to Prince Phillip being kidnapped by the CEO. The narrative flowed very well and the character work by the new players to the show, Scott and Octavia was very good and they brought their character to life with accents and great movement choices.

Throughout the show you could tell that the new players were still getting used to the concept of the show as there were a couple of times where the narrative got a bit complicated but considering it is still quite new to them and Alex and Dom have been doing it for years it is to be expected. Saying that, the show did not disappoint and really was entertaining. Some of the highlights include – the introduction of the villain and the mini action sequence he does, the relationship between the Queen and Prince Phillip, the echo effects of important information and the relevant topical news jokes.

Praise has to be given to Alexander who played Daniel Craig throughout the set – it doesn’t matter if you have or haven’t seen those Bond films you can tell that he has and he has taken a quirk of his persona and made it part of his improvised character and heightened it. The character work really was on point and at no point did he drop out of this dry very direct and to the point character. It worked so well in the action scenes, the romantic scenes and the monologue scenes. Throughout the show Dom had to play the villain and the love interest and the way he was able to devise and create two completely different characters was amazing and sometimes you forgot he was actually both of them as he was very good at creating characters at completely different ends of the Richter scale.

Shaken Not Stirred is a very entertaining show and I can see why it has been a sold out show at Edinburgh Fringe. With the new players being attached to it, the show feels like it has had a refreshing new take on it – whilst I haven’t seen this show before you can tell from watching it as a newbie that there is a sense of newness and that is not a bad thing. If you are a fan of James Bond then you have to see this film as their references are completely on point and you can tell that they have a very strong knowledge of the franchise. If you are not a fan of James Bond but have a spare afternoon go and see this show as it is a fun show, they make everyone feel welcome and are great at interactivity with the audience. Try and be the person who chooses who falls in love as being a non-James Bond fan you could really mess everything up and create a very fun outcome.

A show with high energy, surprises, great character work and just a feel good vibe.

Rating: ****’ 4.5 stars 

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