In my experience, improv can go really well or, not so well. And so when, on a whim, I decided to go and see The Game is Afoot! An Improvised Sherlock Holmes Mystery, I tried to keep my expectations in check. However, this wasn’t just any old improv. From the moment that Watson took the stage, already dedicated to his character, to read out the audience suggestions and choose a theme for that night’s performance, the audience were getting bang for their buck. After reading a few suggestions and coming up with witty resolutions for each of them, he finally landed on Sherlock Holmes and the case of the ferrets and the clock that wouldn’t stop dinging.
The Game is Afoot! An Improvised Sherlock Holmes Mystery had all the ingredients necessary for a great theatre performance, and a great comedy show. Patrick Magee (doubling up as producer and Sherlock) was Holmes through and through. Watching him, I was struck by the elements of the ridiculous that he brought out in his portrayal of Holmes, and how it was possible that no one had ever thought to draw on these before. After watching this performance, it seems suddenly clear that Sherlock Holmes was never supposed to be serious.
Thoroughly committed to their characters, and clearly enjoying themselves, the entire cast were a pleasure to watch. Their chemistry with each other and their talent were plain to see. Never breaking character, they managed to poke fun at each other’s lines, which was an amusing aspect of the show in itself. Hilarity ensued while each cast member tried to catch the other out by suggesting more improbable lines. The whole performance seemed easy and natural, which gave me even more cause to admire the obvious talent of the group. The Game is Afoot is a clear example of improv done right.
Elli de Ryckman de Betz likes eating pineapples on the balcony while watching goats go past on the parade on the street below. Proof that improv is hard, after all.
The Game is Afoot has already run its course for this year at the Sydney Comedy Festival. To keep up to date and find out about any future shows by following their Facebook page.
Disclosure – The Plus Ones were invited guests of The Game is Afoot.
Photo Credit: The Game is Afoot.