What Does the Title Matter Anyway?
This excellent improv show may seem familiar - just don't tell the lawyers
It's just as well Clive Anderson is a former barrister, because he navigates a legal minefield in his introduction. "This is unlike anything you've seen before," he winks, referencing the fact the title had to be changed from Whose Live Show is it Anyway? after a threat from lawyers.
He then proceeds to take us through a show that is, of course, exactly like its TV originator, only now he sits at a lectern rather than a desk, and has slightly changed the names of the games.
And our line up of performers - Greg Proops, Colin Mochrie, Josie Lawrence and Stephen Frost - are hardly a disparate group of improv stalwarts brought together for the first time. Now where have I seen them before?
In an age when improv on the Fringe seems almost ubiquitous, it's fascinating to watch these veterans being put through their paces and still showing us all how it's meant to be done. It's like watching improv's equivalent of The Beatles getting back together for a last hurrah.
Our opening game involved every line having to be a question and was set, thanks to a mix of audience suggestions, in "the Wild West of Kilmarnock". We subsequently got to see the gang act in the style of Beckett and Oscar Wilde on a submarine, and Lawrence put in a stand out turn as a musical barmaid aiding men with problems ranging from a David Beckham obsession to a fear of dinosaurs ("This is clearly some form of regression / So show us your dinosaur impression").
Anderson is an ever-genial host and ranges into slightly bawdier territory than we're used to seeing on Whose Line.. (not that this is in anyway similar, of course) - though he wisely avoided a suggestion to base a sketch around Operation Yewtree.
The one dud was an attempted show-closing musical (Showstoppers they ain't), but this is a minor quibble in an otherwise wholly joyous hour that flew by too fast.
What Does the Title Matter Anyway? runs at Underbelly McEwan Hall until 19 August - line-ups vary
FOR MORE ON EDINBURGH 2014 VISIT WHATSONSTAGE.COM/EDINBURGH-FESTIVAL