Fringe Comedy review: Werewolf Live

Werewolf Live was a hit when it made its Fringe debut in 2018, but how does it fare online?
Werewolf Live, hosted by Jon GraceyWerewolf Live, hosted by Jon Gracey
Werewolf Live, hosted by Jon Gracey

Comedy: Werewolf Live ***

Based on the psychological party game Werewolf, otherwise known as Mafia, this panel show debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018. And in an increasingly stripped down format, it’s come to attract an impressive cadre of comedians and improvisers to participate. But how does it fare online, robbed of the audience’s immediate presence, reducing them to pitching suggestions in the chat box?

Well, pretty well as it happens. Hosted by creator Jon Gracey, previously of narrative-led sketch group Beta Males, Werewolf’s transition to Twitch removes nothing of the paranoia and backstabbing on which the game thrives. As guided by the hooded Gracey, the basic setup is simple: seven occupants of a medieval German village are randomly and covertly divided into five innocent villagers and two werewolves. Following a series of killings, the players must deduce which among them are the secret lycanthropes.

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The show’s appeal is not base animal bloodlust but rather conniving human nature. Alliances are formed and swiftly abandoned, betrayal comes easily and deductive logic takes a back seat to arbitrary intuition and prejudice. Online, quieter players seem more suspicious. And subtexts abound as players bluff and double-cross, yet at a deeper level work together to make the hour amusing. Jay Richardson

Next show 11 August, 7pm on Twitch,

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