Review: Masters of None present SKIMPROV (7/6/14)

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Masters of None are a group of five comedy performers, a splinter of SUSU Comedy Society, and they’re taking their show SKIMPROV (sketches and improvisation – it’s not rocket science) up to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August, hoping to recreating the sell-out success of Comedy Soc’s ‘Clusterf**k’ and ‘RAG Against the Machine’  to audiences in Scotland.

The performance I saw was advertised as a ‘first draft’ – a chance for Masters of None to test out their material on a small audience so that it could be refined before releasing it on the Fringe. SKIMPROV very much lived up to this promise – their set was hastily constructed, and audible whispers whenever one of the boys needed reminding which sketch was next – and even then there were a few entrances made with the wrong prop in hand.

But none of this really mattered – SKIMPROV was funny. The five boys (Jed Marshall, Joe Hart, Aidan Pittman, Danny McNamee and Liam Gardiner Webber) form a natural, confident group, and took us (a small, but enthusiastic audience) through a wild menagerie of sketches. Highlights included shorter sketches such as ‘Bold New World’, ‘Frenchy French’ and ‘Royal Cock-Up’ – starring a brilliantly-cast Hart as King Cnut – as well as longer pieces like ‘The Bible’ and ‘Words Hospice’ which gave the boys a chance to show a little more acting skill. The final sketch, however – entitled, simply ‘Musical’ and featuring a full-on, original musical number absolutely made the show and was flawless from start to finish.

The ‘improv’ sections of the show were a little more hit and miss – but as they were heavily reliant on audience suggestions to drive the improvisation, this wasn’t a surprise considering the size of audience. There were still moments of genuine hilarity, and it was during these sections that the natural chemistry between NaSTA Comedy-winning duo Marshall and Hart really became evident.

Despite the hiccups, SKIMPROV still proved that Masters of None are an all-round talented bunch; they can write, they can act…And they’re not bad singers either. The whole show is intelligently put-together and wholeheartedly enjoyable – the biggest challenge Masters of None face now is that it doesn’t lose its slapdash energy through rehearsal as, mistakes or no mistakes, that was half the fun. SKIMPROV is a hour of good, solid laughs and should without a doubt be a hit at the Fringe this summer.

Masters of None are performing SKIMPROV at Just the Tonic at the Caves at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 31st July – 24th August (except 12th August). The show will be at 3.15pm every day and tickets are available here for £8 each. You can follow the boys on Twitter at @MastersOfNoneUK.

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What do you do with a BA in English? Well, not a lot, which is why Caitlin also works as Deputy Editor here as well as being Head of Events and Marketing for SUSU Performing Arts, on top of blogging and communications for SUSU. After spending an unhealthy amount of her adolescence on the stage, she's taken to slagging other people off for their efforts. Aspiring theatre critic and all-round sassy queen.

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