Edinburgh Fringe 2022
Fun musical romp through a made-up movie story with songs and comedy.
Notflix is an hour-long romp through improvised comedy and music. Through audience suggestions and interactions, a complete musical comedy is constructed on the spot. The show is filled with story twists and turns, all from the vibrant imagination of the talented improvisors.
The performance begins with a strong opening song, showing the vocal prowess of the five ladies on stage and the musicality of the accompanying three-piece band. There is some opening silliness with film jokes (the shark in jaws was just searching for love and snacks!). Then on to the story. One of the cast members holds an iPad containing 20 possible movies on which to base the live show. The audience is asked to pick a number between one and 20, which will then determine which film will be the basis of that day’s story. The audience votes on a movie. The cast then elicits suggestions for a location of the story plus a few more elements. Other details are decided upon, and then the musical begins, because, in the words of the cast, “everything is better as a musical”.
On the day I saw the show, the audience chose the film “Jennifer’s Body”. It is the tale of a teenaged girl possessed by the dark arts. The talented cast spins a tale from their fertile imagination on what could have happened to Jennifer’s body in the spooky house. The story develops about cleaners in the house who discover decomposing dead bodies in a sewer under the floorboards. Making that funny shows off the acumen of these improvisors. The songs within the story vary from a passionate ballad to a waltz or a rock tune. An audience member shouts out a theme for the movie: believe in yourself – the future is final. That becomes the theme song and anthem for the show.
I asked one of the cast members whether they knew that actual film and the answer was “no”, so all of the content was simply contrived on the spot.
A hallmark of this program is that it is delivered by a strong all-female cast. Aisling Groves-McKeown, Clare Buckingham, Emily Jane Kerr, Holly Mallet, and Vicky Hitchin are great improvisors. They have terrific chemistry as a cast and clearly are enjoying playing off each other’s ideas. They can deliver a moving ballad or shout out an anthem with equal skill. Their elastic facial expressions combine with lively dance moves and a variety of accents to bring life to what could have been a simple story line. The actors are fun, funny and have boundless energy. Kudos to the talented musicians on piano, drums, and winds who quickly pick up on the story lines and themes with appropriate accompaniment.
Notflix is an hour of pure joy and hilarity. The show has won awards and sold out at other festivals. If you need a break from the serious or thought-provoking theatre at the Fringe, this is the tonic. You will leave smiling and wanting more.
So what really did happen to Jennifer’s Body? You have to go to Notflix and request that movie to find out. The answer will never be the same but the delivery will always be delightful