Arts and Culture

Review: Men With Coconuts

Posted on: Sun 24 Feb 2019

by David Cavanagh

Men With Coconuts are three improv performers from the UK, accompanied by a fourth member on keyboards, and they are part of an ever-growing cohort of improvisation acts on show during this Fringe. The format is tried and true; the audience provides the cues for each of the games, and the success or otherwise is dictated by the creativity of the audience’s suggestions. In this case some of the sketches worked really well, while others were labouring under difficult interpretations, which made for uncomfortable pauses and disjointed dialogue. The capacity crowd, however, loved every minute of the hour-long performance.

As with other improv performances, it is obligatory to pick on an audience member, or in this case a couple, and milk them for information about themselves and how they met, which is then used as the basis for a re-enactment of the ‘happy occasion’. This was a bit like the Curate’s egg; good in parts. Those parts that worked well were clever and funny, while those that didn’t work tended to fall flat.

The final act was an improv musical based, once again, on an audience suggestion; this time the word “no”. Like the earlier parts of the show, when this was good, it was very, very good, but when it was not it felt contrived and somewhat laboured. There is absolutely no doubt that Men With Coconuts are talented improvisers, but I got the feeling that they were trying a little too hard to make their scenarios work rather than simply going with the flow.

Men With Coconuts are appearing at the National Wine Centre on the corner of North Terrace and Hackney Road, and as part of the Stirling Fringe, until March 2nd. Check your Fringe guide for details.

David Cavanagh

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