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Whose Line is it Anyway? Live (Adelphi Theatre)

Clive Anderson hosts a 'hilarious show of skill, songs and silliness'

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Greg Proops, Josie Lawrence, Brad Sherwood and Colin Mochrie in Whose Line is it Anyway? Live
© Manuel Harlan

Nostalgia is somewhat in vogue at the moment, whether it's reunion tours of classic bands or eager fans collectively dishing out over half a million pounds to fund a live immersive Crystal Maze.

So it seems fitting that Whose Line is it Anyway?, the improv show that hasn't had new episodes on UK TV screens for more than 15 years, has now been brought to the stage for a limited West End run.

All the elements from the original programme are there; Clive Anderson hosting proceedings, a quartet of seasoned improvisers, a questionable scoring system and enough nonsense to fill the two hour theatre slot the team now have.

They've even thrown in a good dose of audience participation, from shouting out suggestions to actually stepping up on stage to offer sound effects, handbag contents and occasionally a muse.

Providing the music is the duo from the American version of the programme – the uber talented Laura Hall and Linda Taylor who provide tuneful accompaniment to several of the sketches; no small feat given they have no idea what's coming.

Clive Anderson – rightly described in his introduction as "effervescent and unstoppable" - is the consummate host, dealing swiftly with unwelcome audience suggestions and taking all of the players' light mockery on the chin, whilst dishing out some of his own zingers and keeping some semblance of control of the action.

And the four stars of the show - comprising series regulars Greg Proops, Josie Lawrence, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood – have still got the same levels of quick-wittedness and camaraderie that they always had.

The big hitters from the good old days are in there for the fans - Irish drinking song and the final hoedown were particularly well received - but you don't need to be a connoisseur to enjoy the laugh-‘til-your-cheeks hurt improv masterclass that's on offer.

With over 20 separate games played, there are bound to be some that aren't as funny as others, but even the least amusing skits – which still let you marvel at the improvisational ability of the comedians - generate at least one laugh.

The transition to the stage seems a natural one; live improv shows have a certain number of in-jokes that you don't quite get on screen. The second half is perhaps a tad long, and I wish the audience wasn't blinded with floodlights every time they applauded but these are minor quibbles in a hilarious show of skill, songs and silliness.

Whose Line is it Anyway? runs at the Adelphi Theatre until 5 July. Click here for more information and to book tickets.