Any Suggestions, Doctor?

Aug 23 2017 | By More

Any Suggestions, Doctor? An Improvised Adventure In Space And Time

★★★☆☆  Sweetly funny

Sweet Grassmarket (Venue 18): Fri 4 – Sun 27 Aug 2017
Review by Hugh Simpson

Any Suggestions, Doctor? An Improvised Adventure In Space And Time, the Doctor Who-based improvised comedy from Any Suggestions Improv, has a wide appeal for Whovians and others.

The company – Charles Deane, Matt Stallworthy, James Gamblin, Louise Jones, Lewis Dunn and Harry Whittaker – are inventive comic performers, and a deep love and knowledge of Doctor Who does shine through in their performance.

Familiarity with the programme is not necessary, however, as there are enough explanations for the novice, while much of the humour relies on common tropes of improvised comedy. There is probably more to satisfy older children and adults, particularly when – despite earlier pleas not to try to be satirical, they get saddled with a lame political title as they did on this occasion.

What is thoroughly up-to-date is that when the audience have a choice of which cast member should play the Doctor, there is a woman in there. If the reception of this audience is more representative of fandom than the below-the-line fanboys of internet sites, then Jodie Whittaker has no need to worry.

Louise Jones was chosen as the Doctor for this performance by popular acclaim and did a good job – even if, as we haven’t seen a female in the role on screen yet, she was not overtly channeling a particular incarnation of the role.

a real enthusiasm

There is a freshness and approachability to the cast that makes for good improvised theatre, while there is a willingness to mine the outer reaches of the programme – both in its old and new incarnations – without making a big deal out of it.

Thankfully, any hint of the ‘oh, the sets used to wobble’ so beloved of third-rate comedians is absent, replaced by a real enthusiasm.

Even once the setting was suggested as Marshmallowville, I wouldn’t necessarily have put money on that most unfairly reviled of Who monsters the Kandyman showing up.

It was a shame that the far more monstrous Michael Gove had such a prominent role, but it is clear that on other occasions the storyline would be entirely different.

Deane and Whittaker in particular seem to be endlessly creative performers adept at quick adjustments, but the whole cast have a winning way with them. It is all a bit fluffy and inconsequential, but has definite charm and provides straightforward entertainment.

Running time 55 minutes (no interval)
Sweet Grassmarket, Apex Grassmarket Hotel, EH1 2HS (Venue 18)
Friday 4 – Sunday 27 August 2017
Daily (not Mon 14, 21) at 4.00 pm
Book tickets on the Fringe website:
Company Facebook: @ASDImprov
Twitter: @ASDImprov


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