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.