Comedy Store Players Corn Exchange, 23/10/08

‘So, I’m an apprentice to the cake maker who specialises in making lemon drizzle cakes for David Hasselhoff’s oil boy?’ Steve Steen looks incredulously at the crowd before laughing and commending Brighton’s creativity.

Guessing bizarre job descriptions through a series of excruciatingly cryptic clues is all in a night’s work for Leicester Square’s Comedy Store Players, who have descended on the Corn Exchange for a night of hilarious improvised comedy.

The style was refreshingly simple: no props, no script and no fuss. The quartet made up of Andy Sparks, Lee Simpson, Peter Price and Steve Steen depend instead on the audience to shout out everything from physical positions to places of work, around which they base various games and scenes.

Highlights include a role-play between two supermarket workers, which the Players transform by applying numerous theatre and film styles, all suggested by the enthusiastic Brightonian crowd. Amongst a hysterical film-noir style stock check, a Bollywood freezer-filling dance and a Kung-Fu frozen prawn fight, ‘Iceland – The Opera’ was born.

A small keyboard, played largely by Price, provides understated but entertaining accompaniment throughout.

By the very nature of the comedy, some elements are sloppy, some gags don’t work. Yet it is these moments and the no-frills approach taken which build up a genuine rapport between audience and performer. Lack of rehearsal creates an intelligent, fast-paced and fun mix of physical and verbal humour, diverging from the sometimes predictable format of conventional stand-up acts.

The evening is over all too soon, but the show’s sense of individuality will stay with me for a very long time.

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