What Does the Title Matter Anyway?, Underbelly, McEwan Hall, comedy review
Edinburgh Festival 2014: The first line-up in a rotating cast was a strong one
Thursday 07 August 2014
“This is not the same as the television programme,” Clive Anderson said immediately at the reunion of the stars of Whose Line Is It Anyway? - which is an odd way to start an evening of comedy.
He was issuing a disclaimer that C4’s improv show with silly games has nothing – get that, really nothing - to do with the improv show with silly games the same cast are performing in McEwan Hall.
The legal niceties have to be observed because Hat Trick, producers of the TV show, which spawned a generation of improvisational comics, objected to the Fringe promoters calling theirs Whose Live Show Is It Anyway?; after lawyers had an expensive chat it has been changed to What Does the Title Matter Anyway? and Anderson has to start each show with a carefully worded statement – after which it becomes a don’t-mention-the-war-style running gag.
To the comedy, which thankfully was as good as memory serves for those who watched the TV show’s 1988-98 run and the large proportion of the audience who know it from YouTube or reruns on Dave.
The first line-up in a rotating cast - Josie Lawrence, Colin Mochrie, Greg Proops and Stephen Frost (Mike McShane, Phill Jupitus, Marcus Brigstocke and Richard Vranch appear on other dates) - was a strong one.
This being a live show unfettered by Ofcom rules, the suggestions from the audiences were mostly genital or lavatorial and the first game was a brothel in a dentist’s surgery – “Which hole do you want filled?” - and soon after Lawrence was a musical bartender (to the piano accompaniment of Philip Pope) curing the ills of her drinkers, Mochrie’s missing penis and Proops’ incontinence.
The games – “All slightly different for complicated legal reasons” – included a musical involving a duck, in which Lawrence womanfully managed not to do the obvious rhyme despite Proops’s mischievousness, and Lawrence and Mochrie as Austen characters in a Hungarian film, translated by Frost and Proops. Sadly none involved props (possibly another legal imperative).
Not every sketch worked as brilliantly, although Anderson was quick to end things on a good gag, and a game involving two fans coming on stage to manipulate Proops and Mochrie’s bodies as they acted out a film about dinosaurs and rabbits - which could have been a weak point - was a highlight.
To 19 August
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Game of Thrones season 5: Emilia Clarke praises characters who 'accept their femininity'
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Glastonbury 2015 tickets: How to make sure you’re successful in Sunday's re-sale
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate