We are delighted to welcome guest blogger Dylan Perera producer for the impronauts at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
I just spent a week performing an improvised reality TV Edinburgh Fringe show, Keeping Up With the Kimprov. And it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had”.
I’m on the 10am train from Edinburgh to London, reflecting on my week at the Edinburgh Fringe. I was performing an improvised reality TV show, with The Cambridge Impronauts. While you may have missed the best performances (the ones with me in it), they will be performing every night for the entire Fringe at 11pm at the Gilded Balloon, Patter Hoose.
I began my Fringe, after half a day of travelling, already pretty exhausted. But before long we were jumping straight into rehearsals. For those not in the know, yes, improvisers rehearse extensively for their shows even though they’re made up on the spot. Like playing an instrument, it’s a learned skill and it’s definitely helpful to play alongside the band a few times before going on stage.
I was nervous to say the least. It had been a little while since I’d practised so, at the risk of beating a dead metaphor, my instrument felt a little rusty. But coming out of that first rehearsal I felt invigorated by the reminder of how much fun it was to improvise with a talented, supportive cast.
And this translated into the shows. The first few days are always tough, with much smaller audiences (we euphemistically call them “intimate”), but the audiences quickly picked up in quantity and quality. Throughout every single show, it was the promise of my friends cracking hilarious one-liners and coming up with zany or stereotypically despicable reality TV characters that kept me energised to keep going until midnight every night. There were many nights where the cast couldn’t help but laugh as much as the audience.
But surprisingly the shows weren’t the most nerve-wracking part of the week. If you’ve ever been to the Fringe before you’ll know that the main method of promotion is flyering. However, we were trying to save paper by doing this without flyers! It entails standing in the middle of a busy street with a giant poster-board and yelling at strangers to come and see your little show that they hadn’t heard of 30 seconds ago. After exploring that far outside your comfort zone you can’t help but feel like you’ve grown as a person by the end of it.
In spite of the ups and downs of the experience, I find myself at the end of the week not wanting to leave. I thought to myself that if I just moved my train to tomorrow I could stay one more day. But even if I stayed one more day at the Fringe, I don’t think that would satiate me. Also there’s no way I’m paying the £50 fee for transferring train tickets in this economy.
If you’ve never seen an improv show, it’s a unique and ethereal thing. It’s this bubble which you enter for an hour, and no one has any idea what to expect from it and then once you’re done you realise, unlike a scripted performance, no one will ever experience that exact same show again. This is the feeling I have leaving the Fringe. I had no idea how I would feel going into it, but by the end I felt both grateful and sad that I would never experience anything quite like it ever again.
And the Cambridge Impronauts are some of the funniest and most supportive people I’ve ever met and they truly made my Fringe. If you have the chance to see them this month, then I can promise they’ll make yours too.
Title: “The Cambridge Impronauts present: Keeping Up with the Kimprov”.
Dates: 3-28 August
Time: 11pm for one hour
Location: Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose – Nip
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