Improvisation is a tricky thing, not least when you set it in the 1940’s world of Enid Blyton complete with lashings and lashings of ginger beer and great hunks of cheese but the cast of Bumper Blyton do their best to improvise the chance title picked for them by the audience which this afternoon is, ‘The Ambidextrous Gang’s bicycle challenge’.
It gets off to a highly entertaining start with just enough allusion to the adventurous worlds created in books such as The Famous Five and The Secret Seven series mixed with a pinch of innuendo and a dash of madness.
To think things up on the spot causes no end of hilarity for the performers themselves but armed with just two hat stands and the piano accompaniment of an improvising musician they give it a good go. The actors must build on the settings and characters created for them by their peers which is no easy task and calls for strong memory skills. It results in fits of giggles not just from the audience but from the performers themselves.
Bumper Blyton does lose its way a bit in the middle as scenarios veer from the unlikely to downright illegal and the laughs dwindle a little at this stage but the cast are able to meld the madness back together for the final scenes which, as with all good Enid Blyton books, ends with a slap up meal, unlike Blyton novels, however, there is also a large helping of smut.
Like all good improv (and there’s plenty to choose from at the Fringe) it is a fun hour but it needs a bit more reference to Blyton (and a bit more space) if it is going to challenge the genre-leaders in future years.