Browse reviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2009

The Oxford Imps

The Oxford Imps

Venue: Gilded Balloon


Low Down

The Imps rocket through a series of crowd pleasing games with great gutso and infectious glee. They’re refreshingly and cheerfully adept at accepting ‘failure’: a sort of competition element is introduced occasionally, and if any player breaks the rules, they’re mocked and booed mercilessly. This isn’t to say that there’s a lot of failure going on: this is a group of great confidence and verve. There’s a blast of rock music between each scene, in which the team bounce up and down joyfully – in too many improv groups, there’s a sense of sense of lethargy and. No fear of that here, where any idea or suggestion is tackled, grappled and wrestled into the plotline with great gusto.


The fact that the short form games form part of a longer story is a great and simple idea, and allows the group to occasionally burst into a song that supports the ongoing plot without having to claim that the evening is in fact a musical. Very occasionally, certain games/scenes might have benefited from somewhat more brutal editing, but this is a minor criticism, since the group’s commitment to scenes means that the show is never boring, and in any case, it allows us to see the players really working hard and supporting each other to find whatever it is the scene is meant to be about.

And, they’re uniformly very good at supporting each other: as soon as a throwaway line is mentioned regarding, say, a fire alarm – we have a fire alarm beeping in the background. Songs get their own backing singers, and become the ultimate team effort.
This is joyous, infectious and smart improv comedy.