Binge Fringe Magazine

REVIEW: Slumber Party Improvised Comedy, Prague Fringe 2024 ★★★☆☆

The premise of Slumber Party is simple: gather a group of strangers in an underground basement and ask them a personal question. The result is totally unknown. Awkward silence? An onslaught of revelations? A wildly inappropriate answer? Who knows, but it is the work of the four women on stage to take whatever the audience give and rework it into a series of loosely connected skits.

“Does anybody want to tell us about their first crush?”

Whilst I sat debating whether anyone needed to hear about my ten-year-old self’s obsession with Robin Hood as played by Jonas Armstrong on the BBC series, or the class clown that wormed his way into my heart with a story about an ingenious boy who escaped the sinking Titanic by re-purposing a bathtub and a shower head as a lifeboat, thankfully a more forthright girl answered. And thus, we were introduced to Charlie – her old hockey coach, a teacher, an ex-chef, and a man who won her 21-year-old heart because at 30 he seemed SO mature. Charlie burst that bubble when during the course of their relationship he proposed to and impregnated his other girlfriend; now wife.

At first the audience interaction felt a little strange, in trying to gain all the relevant details of the story, I was reminded of MacBeth and the witches – had the witches all been comedians that cared more about finding out about his past and making him laugh than reading his future and terrifying him.  There was an awkward moment where it appeared that they might just repeat everything the audience member was saying to each other in an attempt to all be involved. Thankfully, this was acknowledged by Sarah Lewis of the cast and turned into a joke. As the first skit began with Rosie embodying an arrogant Charlie posing knowingly with his hockey stick, and Sarah Lewis a starstruck girl tying to prove her maturity by talking about ACDC, I felt assured that these were funny women.

The Charlie skit evolved through various scenarios all exploring the themes of maturity, young love’s angst, and two-timing idiots. My personal favourite of the evening was witnessing chef Charlie juggling incoming calls from his wife and girlfriend; the exhaustion of being a hockey coach, teacher and chef; and his furious coke habit. The drug detail was thrown in at the just the right moment and provided Lucy the perfect opportunity to display her physical comedy skills. Across all the skits Sarah Lewis stuck out to me as a master at knowing when to turn a skit around and bring in a fresh detail that inspired more gags. The sugar dusting on the baked goods in the kitchen transpired to be coke in the following skit.

One of the best elements of watching improvised comedy is watching what lines and unexpected plot twists break the comedians on the sidelines who are otherwise focused in the complex calculation of figuring out where they can step in and take the next gag. One line that broke audience and comedians alike was the revelation that a woman who’d convinced her husband she was too anxious to go into the supermarket because of the overwhelming range of choice was really hiding because she’s shagged the deli guy.

Some of the skits I found more underwhelming was the jack-the-lad club for boys with one syllable names, and the drunken Sunday School teacher reteaching scripture based on her experience of life. Both felt like they never evolved into something funnier than the original premise, and especially in the latter case that was a real loss.

The show was split into two parts around the two audience questions; personally I think three questions or more could be fun as the best part of the show is seeing how quickly Slumber Party take the facts given to them and reinterpret them into unexpected but recognisable storylines. The transitions between the women asking the audience questions and then moving onto their own stories was a bit clunky; I didn’t feel like the intimate gossipy atmosphere of the slumber party was quite achieved – but it is certainly a hard ask when you have the eyes of a roomful of strangers upon you.

Offering fresh, fast-paced and energetic performances sprinkled with some very funny moments, and storylines that spiral into silliness before your eye, Slumber Party Improvised Comedy is an entertaining watch.

Recommended Drink: Sex on the Beach – extra strong to help loosen your tongue.

Catch Slumber Party Improvised Comedy as part of Prague Fringe at Original Glenn’s Bar until 1st of June. Tickets are available through the Prague Fringe Box Office.

Eilidh McKenzie

Eilidh is a writer, reader and avid watcher of film, television and theatre. She loves writing that blends comedy with darkness, and makes public the quirks of life and character that we've been taught to hide. She also aspires to be fluent in Spanish, but so far this has proved far harder than expected.

Festivals: Adelaide Fringe (2024) , Prague Fringe (2024)
Pronouns: She/Her
Contact: eilidh@bingefringe.com