By its very nature, improv comedy should be hit and miss.
Star rating: * * * *
But I just can’t imagine Abandoman – comprising affable ad-libbing Irish rapper Rob Broderick and his keyboard playing sidekick with the comedy face, Rob Grundel – ever having an off night, so clever, quick-witted and audacious is their flow.
Broderick’s ear-to-mouth coordination is Olympic standard. He hoovers up suggested scenarios from the audience, then spits them out as fully formed comic yarns with both rhyme and reason. You can almost see the cogs whirring as he simultaneously assesses rhyming potential, distils the essence of the preferred material (Ben the yoga-practising bin man? that’ll do nicely) and works out the comedy connections that will make the best running jokes.
Broderick really shows his mettle during one masterclass of spontaneous composition, which namechecks unusual items turned out of our pockets and bags. Never before have a fork and a packet of mint balls been so speedily absorbed into a heat-seeking missive.
The audience also cottons on quickly, testing him with their multisyllabic suggestions. On the night I attended we were transported to a party with Barney the dinosaur (not much of a rhyming challenge for a pro), Danny DeVito (a bit trickier) and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber (that’ll stump him – OK, maybe not…). Barney was then co-opted as one of the running gags of the hour, thanks to the cast of another show, fortuitously lined up in the front row wearing purple hoodies. It was a comedy rap waiting to happen.
The funny thing is that Ben the yoga binman’s original party guest suggestion had actually been Arnie, not Barney. Who knows what Broderick might have made of that if he had heard correctly? Similar rhymes, presumably, but a whole other web of wit to spin. ,That’s another show. Possibly the one you will attend if you’re looking for sharp, surefire laughs.
Until 27 August. Today, 9:45pm.