I’ve never been a huge fan of improvisational comedy for its sheer clever-dick-ness and the prospect of spending an hour with five testosterone-fueled young guns filled my heart with the desire to go and get a facial instead.
From the start, however, I was literally whisked off my feet, along with the rest of the audience by Tom, Sam, Charlie, Matt and Tom, in a roller-coaster of a show that was as loopy as Colossus. Having a different audience each performance means new and wacky suggestions are made for the sketches and there was no shortage of keen audience members to transform into rock stars, Moomins and scientists with some really random moments. The speed at which the boys from Noise picked up and ran with the (at one point real) balls was incredible and sometimes even involved the sort of dance routine and sheer physicality that would put any self respecting boy band to shame. The mini-series, The Chumely Players, was like The Archers on acid. The party sketch, on the moon with Jessica Fletcher (the character from Murder She Wrote played by Angela Lansbury) and a monkey on a unicycle with a guest appearance from Carol Vorderman was sublime and either showed their immense grasp of 20th century popular culture or their lightning-quick googling of the suggestions backstage.
Where this show really elevates itself above the glut of improv at this year’s Fringe is with The Totally Smashing Capers of Archie Fox, a terrifically spiffing adventure filmed live with the help of the audience and available on the Noise Next Door Youtube channel on their website. These prove the boys’ talents stretch far beyond what the audience sees on stage.
The Noise Next Door come with an impressive set of academic credentials coupled with a distinct style of their own, seemingly boundless energy and passion for their craft. I left refreshed and amazed (and possibly a bit converted) and as laughter is the best therapy, I had no need for a facial.