Broadway Baby – Soundhouse, Edinburgh, 2013

The Noise Next Door: Soundhouse

The Noise Next Door’s new show at Pleasance will make you will laugh so hard your diaphragm will ache. Charlie, Matt, Sam, Tom, and another Tom will escort you through a riotous evening that might leave you a little weak at the knees. Wear mascara and the tears of mirth will have you emerging at the end looking like the Dark Night.

The boys are a troupe of improvisational comedians who pull cracking one-liners, ingenious song lyrics and some crazy scenarios out of thin air and audience participation. Soundhouse is the name of their setting. It’s a theatre where they play the actors, the backstage staff, animals, and the occasional metaphysical concept. There’s nothing tidy about the show; it’s hectic and messy and gives a great sense that it will be entirely, elementally different for every audience it interacts with.

Soundhouse fully takes advantage of all of the opportunities improv provides – the show’s success lies in its incredible ability to turn mistakes into the best punch-lines. For example, an initially dry section came with the logistical problems of accidentally picking on an audience member who, it turned out, didn’t speak English. After that, momentum was never lost. The charm is in their expressions of surprise at what is going on, although everything is always immediately absorbed into the fast pace of their stride.

Their ability to create is also enchanting. Entire sketches sprout from a single noun and songs are made up spontaneously as if they are, somehow, working with a kind of joint brain.

Generally, this is a well-proportioned piece. The boys don’t ask so much of the audience that you sit in fear and there’s a wealth of cameos to keep you constantly on your toes. The anticipated meets the unexpected in a loving embrace which gets you a little short of breath: you will laugh so much, this show could qualify as exercise.