Austentatious @ Underbelly Bristo Square

The much-loved Fringe improv show Austentatious is as funny as ever

Review by Helena Davidson | 31 Aug 2018
  • Austentatious

If you haven't heard of Austentacious, the improvised Jane Austen show, then where have you been? Originally a hit on the Free Fringe, this improvised show is a Fringe success story that sees actors create a "lost" Jane Austen novel based on audiences suggestions.

For a show where no two productions are the same, the troupe of six actors in Austentacious handle the unknown topics of their improvised play remarkably well. After a few minutes of humorous audience participation, led by Andrew Hunter Murray, the title of the show, The Murder at Wobblescotch Manor, is chosen, and the hilariously mock-tragic tale of the death of the mysterious Lord Wobblesctoch’s maid, “Oi”, begins to unfurl.

The comedic timing was impeccable throughout, with the whole performance littered with pop-culture references and satirical jokes, all while the actors are piecing together a murder plot without any preparation. From the fabulous Rachael Parris miming squirting cream into Graham Dickson’s Lord Wobblescotch’s mouth, to Amy Cooke-Hodgson miming strapping Joseph Morpurgo to a Fifty Shades-style Red Room wall, all rise to the challenges of miming effortlessly.

Credit must also go to the lighting team (Jonathan Monkhouse and Damian Robertson) who are equally as unaware of how the play will unfold, yet still manage to create atmosphere and help establish the scenes through quick-reaction lighting changes. 

There were slip-ups, as is expected from a completely improvised comedy, however line confusion and awkward pauses contribute to the hilarity, and the actors’ expertise at handling improv material is truly exceptional.

Austentatious, Underbelly Bristo Square, Until 24 Aug, £16-£15

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