Pleasance Courtyard Upstairs
Jul 30 – 25 Aug £6-8
As my first review of the season I went in fresh, not yet jaded with the trudging through the meandering festival crowds and eager to be entertained.
As I walk into the theatre the cast are already in character in a (neurotic) family scene around the fire. A Grandad telling stories to the grandkids…. The show starts by asking members of the audience to choose elements of the storyline to come; character names (Ali Khan), something they have kept secret about themselves (that Ali Khans head is actually a hat – this was provided by a child in the audience), the setting (Darkest Bohemia down a drain) and the title of the show (The Velvet Crevice). The cast, within seconds, start the show and masterfully and hilariously manage to stitch these items together, costumes come from the dressing up box and we are then treated to sharp dialogue with the cast setting each other up for a fall in the dialogue but each time the quick thinking of their opposite numbers pulls a joke out of the bag or clever side-step out of the bag.
The web weaved is that Ali Khan is to help a bohemian couple find love again, through their shared enjoyment of the Velvet Underground. Andy Warhol has reincarnated and this time wants to own his art and turns despot pointing to and owning everything he sees. The Velvet Underground has reformed as The Velvet Crevice due to copyright issues. It’s daft and tripped out but then that’s the joy of improvised comedy. It’s particularly fun to see how the actors improvised ways out of tricky situations that the dialogue throws up (how is that actor going to play both parts when they meet?) and the cast prove to be masters of their art. This group have been performing at the fringe for a few years now and their skill and experience is apparent as they stitch together the plot effortlessly. There’s joke and sly humour in abundance and they get laughs from all ages in the crowd. They even manage to fit in why Ali Khan might have a hat for a head. A five star on my opening festival show – The bar has been set high for 2014.
Reviewer David McMenemy