There are several murder-mystery improvisation shows on offer throughout this year’s Fringe but The Chandeliers, CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation, must be the slickest and quickest. The transitions from scene to scene are skilful and almost imperceptible which helps immerse the packed audience into the case. Forgoing costuming and excessive set design creates a streamlined improvisational experience but there is still room for the performers to fully inhabit their comic alter-egos.
Today Sarah Kempton plays the detective who will guide the audience through the case and ensure that the narrative thread is not lost thus preventing any confusion. She uses audience suggestions to devise a scenario involving a pug breeder called Gerami Copper-Knickers who has been dispatched with a sponge.
Enter the various employees of the pug breeding business who will populate the employees in the canine conspiracy. Kayleigh Cassidy and Danielle Downey explain the precise nature of the breeding and the circumstances that led to Gerami’s death with accurate yet not offensive lilting Irish accents. Nicola Lucey portrays the memorably detached accountant of the firm who is more concerned with profits than mourning whilst Lee Apsey and James Cann round off the cast providing solid support and at times eliciting the biggest laughs.
The greatest strength The Chandeliers display is their effortless ability to field eager audience questions during the interrogation section of the show. They manage the unthinkable and actively follow the narrative thread taking their business seriously, responding and listening attentively to each other’s contributions and assuredly displaying well-honed comic timing.
More tellingly the cast have a level of comfort that allows for the comic management of any unexpected moments and missteps which actually reinforces the sense of professionalism. Obviously the ability to include the contributions of the audience and deal with any questions raised serves to further immerse the fringe-goer into the experience.
There are relatively few bum-notes today and perhaps due to the show-time and age of some of the audience the common temptation to deploy cheap innuendos is avoided. CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation is a welcome fixture in the Fringe roster utilising an audience pleasing formula which highlights and supports the most enjoyable aspects of improvisation; audience participation and identifiable comic characters.