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My favourite shows of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival (aka, another instalment of Morag attends an arts festival and reviews it after it's finished)

The Wedding Singer

"I really wish there was a blog out there that reviewed live shows after they've finished their run"

Said no one ever. 

But when have I ever let other people's expectations stop me from living my best life?


First, it was The Fringe and then it was the Edinburgh International Improv Festival. Now it's the turn of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival to get a classic little-bit-too-late review from me. I'll never change.  

I'm a massive fan of comedy (including local, indie comedy) so I was there: multiple times, usually front row, and filled last weekend with a show a night because who needs sleep, really? I would have been at every show if I could duplicate myself, didn't have bills to pay, and didn't decide to book a holiday to Lisbon in the middle of it all. Because I was there so much though I've decided that I don't have the time (or the energy, or the patience) to write up mini-reviews of everything I attended. I saw some really funny shows but I also watched some questionable ones too, and I'd rather not hurt anyone's feelings. So instead I'm hand-picking my top 5, 

And, yeah the festival is over (boo!) so I've included at the end of each review the next performance by that act that I'm aware of. Because I need to write this post with some kind of purpose and a Call to Action.

Michelle McManus: Pop Goes the Idol

Remember Michelle McManus from Glasgow who won Pop Idol in 2003? I had totally forgotten she existed until I spotted her show on the event listings. Anything that involves 00s pop culture is up my street, even better when it involves a cheesy one-hit wonder. And I knew that even if it was awful, it would awful in the most perfect way possible. 

It wasn't awful. In fact, it was my favourite show of the festival. She was camp, adorable, and knows how to take the piss out of herself. Becoming a forgotten reality tv pop star probably wasn't the most fun thing that ever happened to Michelle and I think it's amazing that she's made something incredible out of it. Plus, she sang All This Time (and yes, I loved every second of it). 

Next time you can catch her show: she mentioned performing it at the Edinburgh Fringe, so keep an eye out when the programme is released in two weeks time.

The Wedding Singer

Full disclaimer: one of my best friends starred in this show and I bought a slightly discounted ticket. It was her first show in a few years and I had to show my support because I was very proud of her getting one line in her role as Waitress 3. 

Truthfully, I enjoy musicals but I'm not in love with them. So it says a lot that I'm choosing this as one of my favourite performances. I love the film The Wedding Singer and they did a great job of bringing it to the stage with infectious energy and fun dance routines (little known fact: I'm an ex-dancer, and my eye is still trained). The casting was also spot on and you can see why people were cast in their roles. 

Next time you can catch the show: keep an eye on the Theatre South Productions website for their next production.

Absolute Improv

If you know me, you know that improv is my favourite form of comedy - so you can bet your ass I was at all the improv shows. TBC Improv has been on my radar for months but they are Edinburgh-based, so I was excited to finally see their show Absolute Improv. And they did not disappoint. They did an hour of short-form improv (which I would take any day over longform) and I was howling throughout. The audience was also on top form. 

Next time you can catch their show: keep an eye on the TBC Improv website for their next show.

Improv Killed My Dog: Magnum P.I. 

Ever heard of Magnum P.I.? A cop show from the 80s? I hadn't until Improv Killed My Dog announced their show. But apparently only one person from Improv Killed My Dog has seen it, so I was good in company.

Yes, they decided to do an improvised episode of Magnum P.I. live on stage based on audience suggestions when 3/4 of the team have not seen a single episode. It sounds like an awful idea on paper, but Improv Killed my Dog are my favourite improv team so I decided to trust that they had thought this through. 

They did pull it off. And I laughed. A lot. Despite not really understanding half the references because I didn't exist until 1990 (I've been feeling really old with 30 only 18 months away, but writing that sentence has put a spring in my step). 

Next time you can catch Improv Killed My Dog: they put on a monthly improv show on the second Monday of every month, so like them on Facebook to keep up to date.

Improv Thunderdome

This event was described as "competitive improv" and to be honest - despite attending about 467893837 improv shows a month - I didn't have a fucking clue what the fuck that meant. Would there be an actual Thunderdome? Would Tina Turner show up? Would there be points? Does the audience decide the winner? All I know is that I love improv and I've seen the participants in multiple other shows, so I was confident it would be a good night. 

There were two teams (Merchant Kitty, and Neil Buchanan Street because....why not?), along with a host, a neutral extra improviser to take part in some games, and someone to keep track of points. All games were short form and had a point scoring system: such as the first team to run out of witty statements, a Spelling Bee competition, and another where someone had to leave the room and guess the audience suggestions when they came back. 

The show was high-energy and didn't disappoint. It was my favourite of the improv shows, and I would see it again if they brought it back for the next festival.

Next time you can catch Thunderdome: (to my knowledge) it was a one-off event, but the participants were a mash-up of two members from Improv Killed My Dog (next event here), three members of Trojan Hearse (next event here), one member of The Clap (Facebook here), and one member of Couch (Facebook here). So, uh, if you want to start watching as much improv as I do, I've given you a head start.

Were you at the Glasgow Comedy International Festival? Let me know in the comments and tell me what your favourite show was! 
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