Leicester Comedy Festival review: The Same Faces – Different Voices at Upstairs at The Western

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Review by Olivia Maclaughlin

No strangers to Leicester Comedy Festival, the improv group The Same Faces have been twice nominated in the festival’s annual awards.

It was experimental night not only for the group but for the audience too. Or one of them, at least. Having never been to an improv show before, I must admit I was dubious at best, and trudged, gin in hand, up the stairs to the only pub theatre in Leicester, not knowing what to expect.

A loud, lively Tom Young jumped from behind a curtain and commanded the room from his first word. He proved to be a standout of the evening, not only as our compere but also a performer, later in the show.

Making their debut was the new Harold improv group, and it showed that this was their first performance in this particular format.

Unsure to begin with, the group looked visibly nervous at the front of a small but enthusiastic crowd.

They say one of the joys of improv is not knowing what could happen, but at times this felt messy, with some skits running too long and being pulled in the middle. But let’s not be too harsh: they’re finding their feet.

Next up were the Slackers, who converted me from an improv refusenik to someone who was genuinely laughing at the jokes, even if some references were a tad too old for me.

In a mix of casual, situational comedy and political commentary, the Slackers found an even keel which never sounded like preaching.

And after hearing the phrase ‘Satan’s testicles’ I’ll never look at another tomato the same way again.

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