I was surprised to see a fairly sparse audience for last night’s show as it definitely deserves more.
The format of Criminal is that a series of guest performers (no shortage of excellence at the Fringe) play both the detective and suspects in an improvised murder mystery .
Our host, Joel Gatehouse, explained the format of the show and the explained that today we would be investigating the murder of one Naomi Moone.
We were introduced to today’s detective, the brilliant Daniel Nils Roberts. He immediately got into character getting the audience on side, as together he and Joel asked the audience for suggestions. I think the audience might have needed just a bit more warming up at the beginning of the show as they were quite hesitant to shout out at first. However, after a couple, they got into the swing of it.
Then together , speaking with one voice , he and Daniel chose the characteristic ( ambitious) , the profession( weaver) the place the body was found ( a freezer ) and an object found with the body ( a tweezer ) .The audience had a lot of fun coming up with rhyming suggestions for this show .
I really enjoyed the way that Daniel intertwined the action with a noirish monologue, giving us insight into the story and his own character. We then met the other characters, played expertly by Amy Cooke-Hodgson (Austentatious , Bumper Blyton ) , Max Olesker and Ivan Gonzalez ( Max and Ivan ) – all amazing players in their own right .
The tale of the ice cream store owner with a constant supply of mini milks and the rivalry between his wife and the deceased weaver, played out with constant hilarity. One of my favourite moments we when the eating of a mini milk in one was described as ‘like a snake with an egg’. This action was performed several times, sometimes just in the background .
The performers worked so well together it was hard to believe that they were just for this night’s show, which is a testament to their individual skills as improvisers . What I always love to see is people having just as much fun as the audience and this was very apparent in this show, with little digs and set ups at each other which were gleefully accepted and played with, to squeeze out all of the funny for the audience .
Call- backs and puns peppered the story without feeling too forced. I loved how Amy quickly came up with the cult of weavers being the Loominati … and the ritual in the car park scene was both brilliant and ridiculous.
This show deserves to be seen by a bigger audience and with there being a different group of performers each night, you just don’t know who you might get to see.
It’s only on till Saturday so make sure you don’t miss out on a full hour of brilliant improv by some of the best improvisers in town .
Superbly silly, smart and skilful.