Review of 'Whose Line is it Anyway?'


I was a fan of the “Whose Line is it Anyway?” television series - Not the newer American one, but the original UK edition. The quickness of the comedians as they improvised in tremendously funny ways was astounding to me. So, for those who are not familiar with the show, Clive Anderson is the host with five comedians on the panel who perform various games - Often with material suggested by the audience members (or even involving the audience members). None of the material is prepared in advance and the comedians have to completely improvise their way through the games. In this staging this format was kept over the course of two and a half hours - plus a 20 minute interval - A LONG time to be performing for anyone but even more difficult with the effort that must be involved for them here. They were accompanied by two musicians that were, we were told, from the US television series.

The performers for our performance were “Chip (Charles) Esten” (now in the Nashville television series), “Brad Sherwood”, and “Jeff Davis” along with two people I will always associate with the show: “Colin Mochrie” (showing his age and with no hair now!) and “Greg Proops”. Over the course of the evening all of them put on a great show. A few of the games they played were:

  • “Stand, sit, lie (down)/bend” - Where the performers are given a scenario to act out but at the same time cannot be in the same position as any of the others, starting with one performer standing, one sitting and another bent over. Additional people are added to make it more and more complex and quite amazing to watch - Probably the most challenging and hilarious game of the evening.
  • “Foreign Film Dub” - Where two comedians perform a scene from a movie in a faked foreign language while two others stand to the side to translate.
  • “Tag” - The audience chooses a starting position for two performers who act out a scene until another comedian shouts “freeze” (causing them to stop moving) then takes the position of one of them to continue the scene.
  • “Three-Headed Broadway Star” - Another challenging game where three contestants sing a song together alternating one word each.
  • “Ballad Of…“ - Picking on an audience member, the performers are challenged to come up with a song based on certain key facts about that person.
  • “Director” - Different genres of film are acted out by a couple of the performers with another on the side acting as director.
  • “Sound Effects” - Two people from the audience are asked to provide sound effects for an acted out scene. This was not so good on the night as one of the audience members did not quite get what they were supposed to do…but that was funny too.
  • “Moving People” - Two performers were only allowed to move when moved by two volunteers from the audience. This was particularly amusing with one of the ladies from the audience getting Colin into very odd contortions.
  • “Whose Line” - During the interval the audience were asked to write lines of dialogue onto strips of paper that the performers then had to incorporate into an improvised scene.
  • “Hoedown” - Each performer in turn sings as part of a “hoedown” style song.

It was an absolutely fantastic show with the audience really enjoying the entire thing. When Clive asked for suggestions from the audience shouts came up from everywhere in the auditorium. The comedians were really on the ball tonight too with the dialogue coming quick and fast. Often the laughter from the audience was quite incredible. Of course, towards the end of the evening everyone (including the audience) were getting tired so it was not quite as good…

A lot of fun for this type of improvisational comedy. The range of games was quite incredible (though blink and you might miss the explanation of how the game worked).

Really great fun.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2016-06-12

London Palladium

Location: London (England)

Address: Argyll Street, London England, W1F 7TF

Public Transport: TUBE Oxford Circus

Telephone: +44 (0) 844 412 4655


The grand old daddy of London theatres, the Palladium has a long and illustrious history of Vaudeville, pantomime, the Royal Variety Performance show (held yearly as a “command performance” for the royal family), “Sunday Night at the London Palladium” live television show as well as big modern musicals including the Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Access to the theatre is simple as it is immediately adjacent to Oxford Circus and on a quiet side street that is (normally) vehicle free. The interior of the theatre is magnificent in a classical way having been recently restored.