CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation, Museum of Comedy

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Review by Angel Belsey

I approached the Museum of Comedy with some curiosity. What, exactly, is in a museum of comedy? Do we start with Greek statues and dirty mosaics from ancient bathhouses, go on to Punch and Judy display cases, and watch video installations of The Honeymooners? Are there waxworks of the Marx Brothers? I’m afraid that the Museum of Comedy is not on the scale of, say, the V&A, but they do have a sweet little bar, a teensy shop, a few photographs, and a wee little curtained-off performance venue, one that is just the right size for improv that has a good deal of audience interaction.

The CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation team has one job: to solve the murder of . . . well, whoever the audience decides is dead. You know the person who died by whichever method the audience decides. And at the end, the audience sees the killer brought to justice–by voting on who did it. Each character, therefore, is constantly setting up both a motive and an alibi, a really skilled double-think performance that keeps everyone–even themselves–guessing.

Yes, this is brisk, quick-thinking improv from a team of folks who clearly work well together. Some performers really shone out–we’d like to say who we particularly liked, other than “the blonde lady”, but the names of the performers in The Chandeliers, the improv group concerned, appear to be a well-guarded secret. All of the comedians, though, made us laugh with their willingness to take on the most inane audience suggestions and run with them.

If we had one criticism, it would be that more elements could have been audience-directed. We had some riffs on objects that weren’t part of the audience proviso (for example, Pokemon cards) which felt perhaps prepared. Other than that, though, CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation was a super night out that my friend and I would both recommend to anyone who enjoys improv. These guys kept the pace swift and the laughs constant.

You can find information on future shows here https://www.crimesceneimpro.com/

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