So many things. So many worries that you’re missing this and everyone is having the best time. .. But by day three it’s possible to get a grip on these absurd worries and just enjoy the festival.
So, Austentacious, the Jane Austen improv group are first up. Selling out the Udderbelly most days, it’s a show you should get booking up because it’s an hour of comedy brilliance. The premise is simple: the audience come up with a title for a new Jane Austen play and the team work out the story. For what it’s worth, mine was Jane Austerity – Poverty in big floaty dresses. But it was never chosen, tragically.
Improv is fascinating to watch, being able to notice the communication between the players and how no ego can get in the way. Today’s show was no different and the story revolved around an art gallery being closed, a prominent wealthy man being likened to a tree, a poor girl offering to dive into a jar of formaldehyde for her love and a meal topped off with endless oregano, Parmesan and hundred and thousands.
Armed with incredible timing, Austentacious is top-drawer improv that needs to be seen.
Austentacious at Underbelly until 31st August.
The second show of the day was the super entertaining Max and Ivan’s The End, where they cunningly change the lights to be different characters taking us on a walking tour of a horrendous town by the sea, with the slogan “Don’t go on the beach!” giving you an idea of the town and its charms. Enormously influenced by the League of Gentlemen, there are many moments of brilliance in the show with comic timing a particular strength.
We are guided through the town and its nuclear power plant and a melee of weird characters all fighting for our attention. The father and returning son duo works well as a central storyline, with callbacks to some blood curdling arguments they’d had in their past always raising big laughs. For me, I found an unexpected but vicious (and no doubt illegal) sex scene to be the high point, intercut with other key moments in the day of the town.
The ending itself seemed to go on for too long – returning to characters we’d just seen, but it’s slick, sick and a lot of fun.
Max and Ian: The End at Pleasance Dome until 30tj August