Review: Tony Slattery’s Crimes Against Improv at The Stand

Everybody knows you can’t predict what you’ll get at an improv show.

However, there’s an even bigger risk when it’s an improv show headlined by a legend like Tony Slattery: the expectations are impossible to meet. Crimes Against Improv is in no way unenjoyable, but it doesn’t reach its full potential, or match our hopes.

Slattery’s Crimes Against Improv is fun and entertaining enough and all of guest comedians had a clear talent for improv. Unfortunately, as a group they felt disconnected, forced and awkward. The show has a similar structure to Whose Line is it Anyway?, in that the comedians agree on a game they will play and quickly improvise scenarios suggested by the audience and adhere to the rules of the game, like beginning each line of dialogue in alphabetical order. And while the plot and situations of an improv show are meant to be spontaneous, a little structure is expected from the act itself, like planning which games are going to be played before the show.

The act was further hindered by the stage which was too small to accommodate all five comedians and a guitarist, whose presence – as explained by Slattery – wasn’t planned but was welcomed as he would add emotion to certain scenes with music. He didn’t.

The act did have some hilarious moments, since the guest comedians are truly talented, but it did make me wonder why anyone would want to see them in this act instead of seeing their solo shows, where they wouldn’t be overburdened with Slattery self-imposing presence.

As a fan of Slattery, this show may be worth your time. As a fan of improv, there are better shows out there.

Tony Slattery’s Crimes Against Improv at The Stand, 20, 22, 24, 26 Aug, 6.30pm

One Response

  1. Avatar
    Allan Lear

    Those guest comedians from Monday’s show were Lee Apsey, Adele Cliff, Allan Lear and Alastair Clark. Yesterday Mitch Benn and Sheraz Yousef joined in. The remaining shows will feature John Robertson, Sylvester McCoy, John Cooper and Mike McShane. Robert Ross hosts.


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