This is a bit of an experiment, flexing my reviewing, analytical muscles with a potential review for an improvisational show I saw in Nottingham at the Lakeside Arts Centre called ‘On The Edge’. I’d never seen Kevin Tomlinson before so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but here’s what I made of it.
On Kevin Tomlinson’s ‘On The Edge’.
‘On the Edge’ is a highly energized improvisational comedy performance that seeks to portray moments of our lives when we might be ‘On The Edge’ and certainly had moments of poignancy coupled with hilarity that made for an entertaining experience. As the name might suggest, he uses a variety of highly exaggerated characters and emotions which, as comic as they are, everyone can recognize. This mirroring of our own daily struggles portrayed in an overstated manner combined with the off the cuff, unscripted performance and audience participation also kept the audience engaged and attentive.
Used for prompts and direction, the performance became the audiences’ script and the potential to influence the on-stage action certainly kept a level of nervous, giggly concentration. The fact that you may be called upon to interact in the performance leaves you with a sense of expectation which Tomlinson artfully exploited. Although audience participation also leaves the performance open to some awkward pauses, this didn’t detract from the pace of the sketches themselves. The sense of inclusion made the show feel slightly more relaxed, for example when Tomlinson re-enacted the ‘proposal scene’ from a couple from the audience. Budding dramatists should also not that Tomlinson gets audience members not just to suggest possible scenes, but to take part in acting in them – not for the shy!
Picking on both adults and kids from the audience Tomlinson managed to tailor the sketches to most tastes, not an easy feat with such a wide ranging audience. This variety in Tomlinson’s performance using, costume, set and masks could sometimes be a bit bewildering and of course, some sketches were better than others but overall the effect was an interesting and appealing comedy show. The element of exaggerated realism to ‘On The Edge’, that’s pivotal to the show and the mirroring of everyday situations but with a comedic twist gives the performance a likeable quality that the audience enjoyed.