If you’re looking for original improv or sketch comedy, you need to look no further than Bristol. Alright, maybe that’s quite far, but it was absolutely worth the coach journey from London Victoria to Bristol for what was a memorable Saturday evening entertainment at the Bristol Improv Theatre. The spooky, Halloween-themed comedy show featured entirely student-written material, from imaginative sketches to bizarre but wonderful improvisation using ideas from the audience. You may be thinking it’s a bit late to publish a review of a Halloween show, and perhaps you’re right. But I’m doing it anyway. Accept it.

Opening the show was the Bristol Revunions, with a series of wildly amusing sketches set behind doors inside a haunted house. The opening sketch, featuring people returning home decades after having ‘popped to the shops’ had the audience in stitches as the sketch became increasingly ridiculous.

Chris Carr was absolutely hilarious, writing and performing a mix of sketches that feels utterly original and very, very funny. Keep an eye out for his stand-up too – definitely one to watch. Meanwhile, Livvie Newman’s poker-faced comedy had the audience in stitches, with brilliant timing playing perfectly in sketches like the Unfunny Panel Show. Clearly a superbly talented actress, Becca Walters played each different character with such personality, rather stealing the show with her charismatic piece in Séance.

My only criticism was of the rather loose framing, which I’m afraid to say was unconvincing at best… how convenient that on the way to their dance audition, the group come across haunted house full of sketches… having said that, the energetic dancing was brilliantly self-aware and thoroughly enjoyable to watch.

My favourite sketch had to be the eye-wateringly comical ‘Rocket Man’, with special mentions to ‘James Bondage’ and ‘The News with you’ for sketches with the best running time to laughter ratio. Other highlights have to include an excellent performance from Cecilia Orr in ‘Graves Brothers’, Eddie FJ’s uncanny ability to crack the audience up through facial expressions alone, and Benjamin Shotton’s priceless portrayal of a sullen teenage vampire in ‘Teenagers’. Honestly, it would have put Robert Pattinson to shame.

The second act showcased an impressive performance from Bristol Improv. How they improvised a whole play from haunted tap shoes, I do not know. How they remembered where they left their imaginary props I have no idea. Why there were elves, and why these elves suddenly received French accents and mannerisms, I have absolutely not a clue; but what I can say is that we thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.

The Bristol Improv and Bristol Revunions were both extremely entertaining in this Halloween Show, keeping the buzzing theatre in fits of laughter throughout. Fantastic performers and overall, great writing. Watch out Footlights, you’ve got competition…

-4 stars

Keep an eye out for upcoming shows via Facebook:

Bristol Revunions (@revunions)

Bristol Improv (@Bristolimprov)