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Saturday, June 11, 2011
Review: ShLong Form Improv (Fringe 2011)
Comedy improv has just got to be one of the hardest acts to perform. I mean, just imagine spinning off a humorous routine with these words provided by your audience: electrolysis, butcher and Mount Everest. ShLong Form Improv, a four person troupe billing themselves as coming from South Korea, got to work and … well, I didn’t find them funny at all. Neither did I experience anything remotely approaching a laugh from any of the scenes which included, for example, robot tax collectors, students breaking into the principal’s office and a three-headed alien hiker on, you may have guessed, Mount Everest. However, two of the audience members present at my showing (there were seven of us) were in hysterics throughout and nicely highlighted the chasm between what some people find funny and what others don’t.
That said, there is clearly an ease among the troupe members and a remarkable deftness to their scene changes. They can work as a unit and they enjoy it. Lacking, though, was nuance in their rapidly shifting characters and any kind of edginess to their performance. Too nice and far too goofy for my taste. You may like this if you like, say, Jerry Lewis, but if your tastes run to such types as Louis CK, Don Rickles even or (gasp!) Jason Rouse, then I’d stay well clear.