Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

The Noise Next Door take improv into overdrive. While other acts may be satisfied with clever quipping and awkward pauses between each sentence, this four-strong group never relent in their pace or inspiration. Their ad libbing is masterful, concocting the most erratic ideas into riotously funny sketches that vary from musical to action thriller.

They enter with the over-entitled pomp that eleven-time Fringe sell-outs can get away with. From there, they waste no time getting on with the show, and audience members immediately start throwing ideas at them ranging from the risque to the troublesome – to just plain weird. Each improvised piece follows the same basic rules, but each differs slightly as to avoid repetition. All the time, you will be laughing for some reason or another – be it anticipation, disbelief or yet another expertly crafted joke. The crowd are merciless, taking sadistic joy in trying to push the four past their limit. Yet they ride it out in incredible fashion, and the smiles never leave the audience’s faces as The Noise Next Door unveil each ingenious streak after another. 

The four performers have such wonderful chemistry, clearly having the time of their lives. They pluck the funniest, strangest musical numbers and set pieces from thin air based on crowd suggestions and run with them, fuelled by unbridled enthusiasm. They really show their class when they somehow, on the spot, incorporate call backs to previous stunts, sketches and suggestions in their improvised scenarios as if they had them written down. Relationships of camaraderie and playful rivalry between the four surface again and again. This sustaining of the highlights and consequences makes the Comedy Lock-In feel less like individual sketches and more like one hour-long flood of funny.

It is when singing, however, that the four rise above almost all other improv acts at the Fringe. Their songs are the sparks that fly from these bright flashes of imagination and theatrical zest, and the whole venue loses themselves in these golden moments of comedy. This is improv fit for the gods. The Comedy Lock-In is titanic stuff that encapsulates the uniqueness and quality that makes the Fringe so special.