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School of Night

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The Sticking Place, the company who created Showstopper! the Improvised Musical back in 2008 amongst other long-form improv, fill Gilded Balloon's Dining Hall with something a touch more highbrow in The School of Night. Although music is not used to the same extent, it could be argued this improvised form takes as much, if not more skill - and a decidedly literary bent.

A set of games, building to the on-the-spot creation of a 'lost' Shakespeare, theatregoers are first asked to produce any books they might have in their bags, our gallant contestants not only sight-read eloquently but then continue to improvise the text seamlessly as the book is removed after little more than a paragraph.

Founded by the late, great Ken Campbell The School of Night proclaim to follow in the great tradition of 16th century artists, allegedly centred on Sir Walter Raleigh. Our 21st century improvisers are undoubtedly masters of their craft. Sean McCann stands out - or at least did during their final Edinburgh performance - alongside an impressive cast, each of whom appear able to present, with zeal, a Mamet-esque monologue without using the letter "S" simply because the show's caller feels sadistic. Is this a new sub-genre? The thinking person's improv.


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