Friday, October 24, 2014

Aaand Now For Something Completely Improvised, Racing Minds

Rating: 44444444

Dates: 4-28 August

Time: 12:15

Cost: Free

Where: The Meadow Bar


The queue stretching to the door of the Meadow Bar indicates that word has already got round about improv group Racing Minds.

The cast are well schooled in the art of improv, having sweated their stuff in the comedy workout that is the Oxford Imps. This show, though, also introduces an eccentric setting. Under the pretext of helping a forgetful Grandpa, audience suggestions are gathered in an informal fashion. Each contribution is quickly followed by a cry of, ‘A Werthers, a Werthers!’ – the caramel-flavoured reward for participation.

Given the constraints of a Free Fringe venue, ‘The Staircase of Doom’ (as the play that day was called) worked well. A plot was lashed together in a very satisfying manner, guided along by Dylan Townley’s improvised soundtrack. The dialogue was enlivened by elaborate metaphors: ‘I am as worried as a castle that is decaying!’ declared the hero at one point. However, the intimacy of the performance space made it difficult to disguise moments when the improvisers themselves got the giggles and the exaggerated accents, while funny, seemed to be borrowed exclusively from Monty Python.

Racing Minds is reminder of what can be achieved with talent and a healthy supply of sweets. And it’s probably worth arriving early.


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