This was one of my favourite shows from 2016 Fringe, so I was delighted to see it back this year. This is exactly how improv is meant to be done, and utilises every inch of comic potential that it produces.
There are two shows; the regular Day Show on every day, and the weekly Night Show on Sundays. The general premise is simple, an Agatha Christie style Murder Mystery, comically improvised solely from the suggestions of Event and Significant Object from the audience. The rest generally goes hilariously, with the cast operating beautifully as a unit, knowing how to play off, anticipate, and surprise each other as well as that most hallowed and important of improv traditions; how to throw each other under the bus.
As I said in my review of Impromptu Shakespeare, improv should never be making it about you, but by all means it should be about making life difficult for one another. You need to challenge and open doors for your fellow performers in order to draw out the full comic potential. In improv you always say Yes and never No. Degrees of Error follow this rule to a tea, no matter how ridiculous the path it takes them down.
The Late Night version on Sundays differs from the usual formula in only one small detail. Everyone swaps costumes, and does it in drag. The result is that everything is much, campier, over-the-top, utterly chaotic, and, ultimately, all the more hilarious. Each cast member turns it up to eleven for these performances and allows things to stray into somewhat dodgier territory, all to the show’s benefit.
I think it’s important to see both versions of the show. The regular version is a brilliant example of exactly how improv should be done and beautifully hilarious. The drag version is nothing short of hysterical, but does work best as an occasional deviation from the norm. It makes them all the more special and uproariously ridiculous.