Comedy Improv Focus: Camden Fringe 2024

Camden Fringe

Set up as a viable alternative to the Edinburgh Fringe, “Camden Fringe is a performing arts festival, established in 2006, which takes place in Camden during August. Anyone and everyone is welcome to apply. Previous fringe events have encompassed new writing, opera, musicals, stand-up, sketch comedy, dance, cabaret, poetry, opera, mentalism, improvisation and Q&As. Shows take place throughout the day and generally last one hour.” This London-based fringe festival “aims to give anyone the chance to perform and showcase their talents, from very experienced performers and companies, to ambitious newcomers.”

Visit the Camden Fringe web site.

Browse the programme.

Camden Fringe is socially active online on Facebook, on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, with trailers and promos on YouTube and TikTok.

There is helpful information and a process for taking part in Camden Fringe here. The process for booking tickets a pretty straightforward. And there are directions to, and information about the just under thirty fringe venues here.

A search for “comedy” in the Camden Fringe programme brings up 122 results and, as with most fringes, comedy tends to represent a large chunk of the shows on offer. You will also find comedy shows under the other genre headings so there may well be more to discover. Our focus here is on the decent choice of imprpvised comedy at Camden Fringe thid year. Here are some of our recommendation with a leaning towards fringe theatre goers…

The Descendants are our first choice for comedy improv with The Descendants present: YOUR NEW FAVOURITE SHOW which promises to create “the audiences’ next binge-worthy streaming show based on what they have been watching – hilariously improvised by some of the UK’s best improv storytellers.”

Purveyors of both ancient myths and improv comedy will know all about this highly acclaimed troupe. The Silliad: Improvised Myths and Legends is a comedic improv show making its Camden Fringe debut after a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2023, where it was acclaimed as “the best improv at Edinburgh Fringe 2023” by Why Now Magazine. The show combines elements of mythology, mayhem, and madness, drawing inspiration from sources like Horrible Histories and Clash of the Titans. Audiences suggest questions, which are then answered through improvised mythological tales, with the audience deciding which pantheon (Greek, Norse, Egyptian, etc.) is performed to much laughter in the Minotaur-loving audience.

And there’s more for improv junkies. Fringe favourites Improv Deathmatch are back with “an adrenaline-fuelled improvised comedy show where two teams go into battle to see who can make the audience laugh hardest. Based on suggestions provided by you, scenes, sketches and songs are made up right before your eyes as teams battle to win points. Who wins? You decide!”

If you have never witnessed long form improvisaiton then you’ll find it as part of the improv sit come show The Pilot Improv. They tell us: “During the long-form portion of the show, we improvise two separate pilot episodes based on audience suggestions. The audience then decides which gets the green light and which hits the cutting room floor.”

For a comedy night of improvised TV hits, you;ll be booking tickets for GÄMEZ TV, which is” a night of spoofed TV shows completely made up from audience suggestions. From dating shows and Kids’ TV to period drama and daytime TV – no channel is safe!” Every episode “has its own lightning-fast, hilarious games, with different characters, places and genres each time. No two nights are the same, but they are a “lorra, lorra laughs”.

Another troupe of fringe legends returning to Camden for 2024 are Buxton Fringe award-winners Impromptu Shakespeare. which does what it says on the skull er… tin, with “story and verse improvised in the moment, enjoy a riotous new Shakespeare play every time”.

Here in the digital age, Play AI promises a “fusion of technology and human talent” in which “an AI-generated script takes centre stage, fuelled by the whimsical input of the audience”. ” When the curtain rises, attendees submit words and prompts, shaping the evening’s unique narrative with their creativity. Once the script is generated, a dynamic ensemble of comedians step into the unknown armed only with their wit and improv skills”.

Our next pick looks pretty unique and will appeal to fringe theatre goers. Understudied is “an improvised backstage-comedy about putting on a show. About the rivalries, romance, tension and turmoil of the theatre. And how what happens in the green room can spill over onto the stage.” We are assured that “every aspect of Understudied is made up, entirely new each night, and based on suggestions from the audience. With your help, we craft not only a brand-new play, but also a cast of actors and the world they inhabit.”. It is heartening to see work like this which breaks free of what can become formulaic improv formats.

For an improv comedy two-hander, improv comics Liam Brennan and Tom Jacob-Ewles are the the fringe with Stranded. Here’s the lowdown: When a school drama club becomes the sole survivors of a plane crash, what could possibly go wrong? he only adult survivors, teacher Matt and his assistant Julian, try to keep the group’s spirits high with improv games and stories. However, as Matt and the children search for ways to escape the island, Julian starts to enjoy his newfound role as the leader of the survivors…”. Improv comedy, games and audience participation ensue.

I love the ideas of a work-in-progress improv show. It kind of feels like a work-in-progress work-in-progress show. Of course they are tersting out the format which looks like a lot of fun. Peasoup: Spontaneous Cabaret is a debut improv cabaret that combines “clowning, live music and a complete disregard for the fourth wall, this pair of silly performers present a charmingly absurd and hilarious improvised cabaret show.”

So, they are our recommendations for the gloriously made up part of Camden Fringe. If we have missed anything or anyone, let us know. Now, get booking. Many of these shows will sell out.