A Total Cop Out – Summer Jams

We are super excited to start performing our new show in the Adelaide Fringe this year! Jams for ‘A Total Cop Out’ have been going well, even though most of them have been done in our bathers. We have either been doing the whole jam in a paddle pool, or discussing the format in a full depth pool and then dripping all over the decking while we slip and slide our way through solving a hideous crime with the help of an unrelated expert. Strangely, all of the characters so far seem to walk like they are wearing wet shorts…?

To any other improvisers out there reading this, I recommend doing the occasional jam in a paddle pool. It is so exciting being able to do fight scenes were you can actually fall back realistically and land in the water without fear of breaking a wrist/shoulder/spine. Is this the future of improv? Should all shows be performed over water to make falling look more realistic? Are bathers an appropriate dress code for performers??? Probably not…

We are still having those wonderfully passionate arguments at the end of each jam over the exact format this show is going to take. We have been jamming multiple variations to ensure what we bring to the Fringe is our best possible show. Despite improv all being made up on the night of the show, getting the format of the show right to ensure we have a smooth running show that inspires great storylines requires a lot of work. We spend a lot of time trying random things and then analysing them for suitability, brainstorming ways to expand on what is working well, and culling out elements that are just distracting or convoluted. Luckily we all enjoy jamming, especially when it involves swimming and Uber Eats!

Stay cool (from the heat, I am sure there is no question of your popularity!)

C xx

Unexpected Inheritance at the Edinburgh Fringe – A recap of events

Kirsty and I recently travelled overseas to perform Tenuous Link’s first show “Unexpected Inheritance” at the Edinburgh Fringe. We left Paul, the remaining member, at home because he was being all busy and important with work.

We booked a venue on the Royal Mile, the hub of the fringe. It was quicker to walk anywhere than drive because there were hordes of people blocking traffic due to the fact that there just wasn’t enough room on the footpaths. Bagpipe music played from shops continuously and there was not a Scottish person in sight – I assume they had all put their houses up on Airbnb and fled to saner pastures. Disappointing, because I wanted to be amongst redheads for the first time in my life (stupid family with their stupid normal hair colours).

Our show opened with a rousing dance number in costumes that we affectionately termed ‘towel-sacks’. They consist of an Australian flag beach towel on the back and a tartan print on the front with sequined letters spelling out “Hello Ed Fringe!” when Kirsty and I managed to position ourselves correctly on the stage. Sex sells when it comes to fringe shows, and I think you can see from the photos that our show was a raging success. These towel-sacks were also worn went promoting the show and handing out flyers, which caused many people to approach to discuss all things Australian – mostly sports related, it was usually a fairly one-sided conversation. At one stage while flyering I was picked up by a lady and turned around because she wanted a photo with the back of me showing the flag and was not going to let the language barrier get in the way of achieving this goal. It was terrifying – for a moment I feared for my life, but once I figured out what was happening I just felt resentful that she didn’t even bother to feign interest in the show or take a flyer.

After the opening dance number (I never want to hear the song “Ooh Ahh…Just a Little Bit’ ever again) we asked the audience if anyone wanted to volunteer to be the inspiration for the main character of the show. After many arguments between audience members all clambering to be the centre of attention, we finally managed to narrow it down to the one lucky participant*. We then started the performance showing an exact representation of what their life is like currently at work. Prior to the show starting we had asked audience members to write down on scraps of paper suggestions of things that people could inherit. These ranged from scale models of buildings, neckties with inspirational quotes and used underwear. Throughout the show a lawyer would enter the scene, pull one of these pieces of paper out of a hat and inform the main character what they had just inherited. Because we didn’t see any of these suggestions until we read them out on stage it was nerve-racking that they may be raunchier than we were mentally prepared for. Luckily we did not have to veto too many!

The show then follows these people’s lives as they inherit multiple times, each time having their life change in a vastly different way and causing them to grow closer or further apart from their loved ones. Some ended with couples sacrificing themselves in exploding buildings, others finally ditching that clingy girlfriend and saving the world. It was sometimes a hard line to tread between having a boring and sensible main character, and offending the person we were playing…

But how did 2 people perform a show with so many different characters in it and have the audience seamlessly understand at all times which character they were playing? Did they learn a hundred different accents? Did they give characters over- the-top physicality? Did the work on their acting skills to the point that they just ‘became’ that character? No, we thought of all these things, but in the end decided just to use hats. Every character had its own hat that it wore, which meant Kirsty or I could switch who was playing that character at any given time. When a scene required more than 2 characters on stage we would wear a hat, and hold additional hats up with our hands. It was revolutionary. It was avant-garde. I still can’t believe we did not win an award.

Awards aside, a few days after one of the shows when we had picked a terrified man in the front row to be our main character, he and his wife came back to the venue and told us how much they had enjoyed our show and that we had created all of the ‘in jokes’ for their group of friends for the next ten years. They also said they thought we weren’t far off from making it to the big times as they had seen some other large sell out shows and thought ours not far off that. I think they were drunk, but it was all the reward we needed to declare our run of shows a marvelous success beyond belief and celebrate with copious amounts of wine. I give performing at the Edinburgh Fringe 5 stars!

The rest of our holiday consisted of visiting castles, having ice-creams for lunch, and trying to speak other languages as much as possible before the locals got annoyed at our incompetence and switched to English.

C xx

*note: no one ever volunteered, we had to use all of our skills learnt in high school of peer pressure, bullying and emotional manipulation to harass one victim into telling us their name, occupation and pet. It was super painful and yet gave us a strangely thrilling sense of achievement when they caved.

Fringe 2019 – We’re coming for you!

We at Tenuous Link are thrilled to be bringing the world premiere of our new show A Total Cop Out to the Adelaide Fringe.

A Total Cop Out is a show like nothing you (or we) have seen before, developed after far too many hours of watching Brooklyn Nine Nine, Castle and the Mentalist.

With a cast made up of some of Adelaide’s best improvisers, at Adelaide’s home of Improv, the Duke of Brunswick, it will be a show to be remembered.

Get in quickly and get grab some BankSA Support Act tickets whilst they are available for $10 tickets.

Tickets available from Fringetix here!