Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Performing since 2005, The Noise Next Door, consist of 5 comedy improvisers and a solo guitarist. They endeavour to quickly respond to audience direction and suggestions developing dramatic scenes and quirky songs.
This is a winning formula of audience participation and edge of your seat theatre. Edge of your seat for the performers, because what they perform is a direct result of what the audience tell them to do. With a team of five improvisers and musical accompaniment from the guitarist, they interpret your suggestions and try to integrate the ideas into a cohesive structure. They already have the skeleton of their theme, an unknown specialist fighting force, until you decide who they are, that must eradicate an evil intrusion, that you are also called to decide upon. With a tick list of interventions that need fleshed out, by you.
If the audience were passive this would never work. Luckily though, these shows tend to attract the student body that adore them. The more obscure the idea the funnier it becomes. Logic has no place here. The day I saw them, a very “up for it” audience were in house, shouting suggestions that ranged from finding a shark in a tennis court to Santa Claus being the main organiser of the elite force with a mission impossible. With a series of set criteria, the players stretch their outlandish imaginations to include the vital information that the audience want. Earning a cheer on successful delivery, it’s a convivial atmosphere with willing participants.
If you enjoyed the concept of, “Whose Line is it Anyway”, you’ll actually be more entertained when it doesn’t work. Then, for me, they were truly stretched into getting out of a sticky spot and using all their skills to get safely back to the plot. They dipped their toes in the water that is the more nerve wracking improvisation, when they involved an audience member by bringing him on stage. The possibility of him upsetting their apple cart by being a genuine random unknown entity was merely toyed with and they should consider developing this concept if they want to really feel the fear.
There’s definitely talent in the team and they work well together, giving regular eye contact and clear information to each other to assist in the awkward moments. These improvised events are pure gold when the performer is struggling to transmit a thread of an idea to on stage participants, pleading with their eyes for delivery from the pain they are in. At no time though, did I feel that they were really in trouble as their tried and tested formula would always reign supreme.
They are young group of guys, who have a competent ability to carry a tune, and are energetically physical. A mass of lanky legs and arms interlocked with each other, their visual representation of a woman experiencing childbirth dissolved the audience into fits of laughter. The main audience were delighted at the inclusion of cultural references, at key moments, that included Harry Potter and Star Wars.
I was hoping for more sympathetic comic guitar riffs to mirror the witty chat, more mayhem, the sense of an impending car crash. Their musical rhymes, accompanied by a strummed guitar, were always amusing but not particularly complicated. This troupe have the potential to develop stronger riskier improvisation that could appeal to wider age range. The chatter on leaving this out of the way Pleasance venue was positive, incredulous even at the group’s ability to incorporate topics and suggestions. It’s an early evening show that gets you in the right mood for spending an evening out on the town. If you’re going and you want see them really sweat, don’t even consider being passive, challenge them.