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Edinburgh Fringe 2013

The Oxford Imps

Oxford Imps

Genre: Improvised Theatre

Venue: Gilded Balloon


Low Down

Acclaimed Fringe veterans The Oxford Imps return once again to fill your afternoon with hilarious Whose Line Is It Anyway? style comedy. The Imps perform a huge variety of spontaneous games and sketches based entirely on audience suggestions. From Shakespeare to Broadway musical, the show delivers exciting new experiences minute to minute. The Imps are ‘supremely talented as individuals and formidable as a group’ (ThreeWeeks). A must-see show. Ideal for teens and adults. 


The Oxford Imps bring a slick, funny and intelligent improvised comedy show to the Edinburgh Fringe. With a combination of short and long form improve games, The Oxford Imps sustain an engaging rapport with the audience and perform with joy.

The six eager performers demonstrate a vocabulary and general knowledge beyond their years. This combination allowed the content of the improv to transcend the usual improvised fare of toilet humour and current affairs. Instead, the Imps riffed off the young audience’s suggestions of Austen, omelette making cats and horror films about sweeties.

The gender balance of the Oxford Imps is 50/50 male to female which is refreshing to say the least. This equal dynamic is much more interesting than the usual male centric comedy of the Fringe.  

All of the performances were strong; however a special mention should go to Sylvia whose talent really shone. A quick wit and effortless word play highlighted her performance right from the start. She also produced an astonishing improvised song in the middle of the final long-form game which really did seem to materialise from thin air. Perfectly timed, rhyming and with a coherent narrative. Superhuman stuff.

To make this an outstanding production The Oxford Imps should consider two things.

Firstly, the final long-form game – the ‘piecé-de-résistance’ – was maybe a little too free. More structure would create more comic potential. There was none of the necessary friction needed from improve e.g. performers forced to play with a form that they find difficult. Each moment seemed to be created to play to the performers’ strengths rather than celebrating versatility.

Also, no thought had been put into the visual set up of the stage. The Imps have nailed this current set-up but there is vast potential for a multimedia aspect or simply a backdrop. Allow the setting to be richer and shed the obvious university society aesthetic.

A bright and brilliant show featuring an intelligent comedic talent.


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