*Note: The following review was written over a month after the fact due to writer’s block and my being a disaster of a person.*
Brought to us by the ever-talented Degrees of Error, creators of Murder She Didn’t Write, The Writers’ Room provides a new and creative set-up for an improv show. It’s very much a ‘what it says on the tin’ kind of show; a group of screenwriters pick through crumpled suggestions in a wastepaper bin trying to find something with which they can create the next big blockbuster.
Master’s of improv that they are, Degrees of Error take these suggestions and run with them into an increasingly bizarre and ridiculous hour of spontaneous storytelling. On this occasion, we eventually settle on ‘The Stone Plane’ a story of the conflict between the exclusively male Stone Village and the exclusively female Wood Village, exacerbated by the Machiavellian Third-Gender Village. One of the most amusing creations I recall from this was the stone-villager’s ‘wife’, Granite (pronounced like Janet with an r), hilariously brought to life (as much as lump of rock can be) by Tessa Gaukroger. My housemate and I still regularly just say the name at random intervals to amuse each other.
Everything in this show has a looser, more relaxed, and casual feel than Murder. That is not to say that either has a better way of doing things but more that Writers’ is a nice break from the more polished over-all ‘bigger’ style of the other. Writers’ feels much more like a group of talented friends having fun with a silly-idea, and doing it in such a way that the audience has fun with them. Lizzy Skrzypiec and Stephen Clements in particular demonstrate tremendous skill in the art of improvising whilst simultaneous visibly corpsing and having clear fun throughout the whole show.
The Writers’ Room was a really lovely and refreshing way of doing an improv show, and something I hope Degrees of Error continue to pursue in the future. It had in me in just as deep fits of laughter as Murder She Didn’t Write before it and more so than many other ostensibly more structured and practiced improv shows I’ve seen at the Fringe.