Fringe: This Is Your Trial

This Is Your Trial , Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016 (Pic: Cath Ruane)
This Is Your Trial , Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016 (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Court rooms have been the setting for many Fringe shows over the years. This one twists it slightly, and comes up with a format that works - on most nights.

This Is Your Trial

Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)

Rating: ***

Court rooms have been the setting for many Fringe shows over the years. This one twists it slightly, and comes up with a format that works - on most nights.

It’s improv with a difference.

Before the audience takes their seats they are handed cards to complete in which they accuse someone of something daft.

The scenarios they create are then collated by the clerk of the court, and the best - or most off beat - are taken to trial.

As with all improv shows it works best when the professionals are sharp and quick-witted. The show we saw was a bit rough round the edges, and ought to have been much, much slicker.

Exhibit A for the prosecution: A man charged with stealing a pair of shoes from a homeless man … the very shoes he was wearing when brought before the judge to the centre of the stage! Exhibit B - a girl accused of sneaking into the show without a ticket.

That really ought to be comedy gold for any actor or stand-up.

If there was a script, it’d write itself.

That it didn’t ignite entirely - it was funny but ragged - was down to the pros on the stage not making the most of the material, rather than any inhibition on the part of the volunteers who were happy to play along.

The actors change daily too, so who you get to see is pot luck.

Susan Calman and Marcus Brigstock are just two of the names that leap out at you from the list of performers at the side of the stage. You could only wonder how much more they’d have got from this material.

A bit frustrating really as this show clearly has an audience, and one that is quite happy to play along.

As well as the charge sheets to be filled out, one audience member acts as the court reporter and tweets it live, while another takes on the role of the artist - again they struck gold with the guy doing the drawings which were fantastic. See them on their smashing website!

The early evening slot makes this a decent addition to your Fringe night out, and if you strike gold with a quick stand-up then it’ll set you up for the rest of the night.

Run ends August 29

Allan Crow