Funny At The Fringe – INTERVIEW – Adventures of the Improvised Sherlock Holmes

It is festival season and that means that in the next month there is so many great comedy festivals to look forward to! This month we are looking at some of the great shows that you can see at the Edinburgh Fringe. So take note because we are going to give you all the information you need for just a handful of some of the great shows happening this year! We have also been able to interview some of the acts that are heading up to the Fringe as well.

Ed Fringe 2019

Adventures of the Improvised Sherlock Holmes

Location:  Just the Tonic @ The Caves  (Venue 88)

Dates: Aug 5-11

Time: 16:30

Price: £9 concession £7


Ticket Link:


How did you come up with the name of your show that you’re taking to the fringe?

Well, apart from its explanatory value: most of the original stories’ titles begin with the word ‘adventure’, and starting any undertaking with adventure seems like a good idea…

Tell us all about your show!

It’s a fun, warm, adventure story made up before your eyes.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe?

Sophie Duker’s debut hour; Puppet King Richard II; a piece of new writing at Pleasance called Wild Swimming – and of course, the other shows our cast appear in. This year we’re also in Wit and Mirth, Bumper Blyton, Murder She Didn’t Write, the Oxford Imps, Impromptu Shakespeare, and (somewhat ironically) Criminal.

Have you done the fringe before? What are the key pieces of advice you have been given or would give to new groups or people performing at the fringe.

Yes! The Fringe is psychologically draining even if your show goes well, so we’d encourage moderate consumption of social media, booze, and review sites. However that’s probably advice you have to live, before you can act on it…

What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?

We gave you a list in last year’s interview and there was one we can’t believe we missed – so here’s our chance to make good: “Too Much Light Makes Baby Go Blind” by the Neo-Futurists. 30 short sketches in 60 minutes, played, discarded, and even paid for at random. An unrepeatable experience, by the makers’ design.

Favourite one liner you have done in a show and why?

The best lines are ones that make perfect sense in the context of an hour-long show and no sense at all outside. For the record, ours is “don’t touch my face”, but for the second answer in a row, you really had to be there…

What have been some of the most unique and different comedy shows you have seen this year and why?

Cast member Caitlin’s “completely wonderful”. There’s been one performance so far, and improv shows in their first year have the longevity of newly-hatched turtles – but this one deserves to make it into the sea. Note it down, it has the makings of a Fringe 2020 smash.

What is the best way to enjoy yourself at the fringe?

Not take part in it, most of the time! Climb hills, walk in parks, visit the National Museum of Scotland. Then you’re better able to appreciate the madness on your return.

What would be your top three items every performer must take to the fringe?

A waterproof garment with pockets (for other people’s flyers – you’re going to take them, aren’t you?); a phone charger (since you’ll be using directions on your phone the whole time); and comfortable shoes (you can always dance barefoot…)

What’s the secret to successful flyering?

Believing in the show you’re selling. Your enthusiasm will translate.

Who would be your ultimate dream audience member?

A kind bookish soul seeking to escape reality (or make their own) for an hour. We have dozens of them in every show and it’s like a family.

Ok let’s talk Sherlock – what are some of your favourite stories and why?

We said the Speckled Band last year, so taking that as read – we love the Empty House (for the sheer number of twists, and the killer’s eventual motive) and the Musgrave Ritual (for its unusual structure, unusual narrator, and very satisfying… geometry).

Is there any lines from the book /films etc that you try and sneak into the shows?

There’s one line we say, right at the end, after the improv is over. But we can’t tell you the end, can we?

Who is the best character to play in a show and why?

The cast member typing right now thinks Watson as you have the greatest latitude in changing his character on the spectrum between Buffoon and Secret genius…

It was announced that Henry Cavill is the next to play the Detective what are your thoughts on this?

We’re not optimistic, but then we thought Jonny Lee Miller would be an odd choice back in the day. Just as long as he shaves, we’ll give Cavill the benefit of the doubt. Sherlock Holmes is described at one stage as bending an iron poker straight with his bare hands, and we imagine Henry is well prepared for that at least.

Who do you think would be the dream actor to play Sherlock?

Jeremy Brett is our dream actor, and thankfully he took the job.

What about Moriarty?

If we’re allowed to stray away from the living, Philip Seymour Hoffman. If not, Ian McShane would do interesting things with the part.

Everyone loves a bad guy and Moriarty has been played in so many ways – do you try and Channel an actors perception of the character? If not what quirks do you bring to him?

The best performances vary wildly but all come back to intelligence, and that’s the greatest challenge to get across on stage. We used to think Sherlock Holmes’ mind was a challenge to portray, but after five years we’re pretty happy with how that’s done. A battle of wits between the two, though, happens quite rarely. The answer is in how they’re perceived by the other people on stage, rather than in anything they say. People need to be seen to fear Moriarty, to be overawed by that mind. Then when and if it’s defeated… the payoff is so much the greater.

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

We’re glad you asked! We’re @improvsherlock on Twitter and Instagram, and facebook dot com slash … improvsherlock. Come say hi in real life too, we’re not scary.

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

Find like minds…

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