The problem with basing a stage comedy show on almost exactly the same format as the legendary Whose Line Is It Anyway, is that by doing so you are openly flirting with the unlikely possibility that you’re right up there with the greats of improv comedy like Paul Merton, Stephen Fry or Robin Williams. Predictably, such delusional flights of fancy rarely hit the mark. The Improverts is a show that reeks of drama student arrogance. Its clichéd characters and weary recycling of stock gags only serve to distract from the fact that the performers are actually rather talented. With each sketch or ‘game’ based on (invariably drunken) audience suggestions, the themes of the sketches are liable to end up a little crude. The sketches range from a marriage councelling meeting (involving the dilemma of a man with a walrus fetish) to the grand physical comedy of slow-motion movie stunts. Sadly though, there are points in the show where it’s difficult to look past the fact that you’re just watching a bunch of students arse around on an empty stage.
The cast are very likeable and competent, but performer Michael Whitham gloriously outshines his co-stars with his relaxed delivery and sharp wit. As a showcase of look-at-me-aren’t-I-clever moments, The Improverts manage to raise a smile. The overall comedic punch, however, is rarely well aimed.