ACMS: Alternative Comedy Memorial Society 5***** - One4Review
one4review | On 10, Aug 2016
ACMS: a forum for experimentation and comedy that might not work elsewhere. The thing about this show, is that the audience are willing to give anything a try or a fair hearing – and if it doesn’t work, then they’ll laud the audacity and courage it took to take the risk and push some edges.
This permissive and hospitable atmosphere is created in part by how involved the audience is in creating the show: the ‘noble failure’ refrain, the permitted heckles, the appreciation of Thom Tuck’s mischievous grin and John-Luke Roberts’ painstaking attempts to keep Thom on track.
This particular edition was excellent: it benefits from the extra-long slot, and from having a bar in the room. The seating layout works, especially when not completely full because the audience can spread out and own the space. The acts, as ever, were excellent: most opting not to perform extracts from their ‘normal’ shows, but give something else a go (a lovely trombonist played Nessun Dorma on a butternut squash. Amazing.)
What all this does mean however, is that large groups of newcomers who haven’t quite learned the rules yet (the ones in the flyer and the ones everyone else seemed to already know about being a good audience member) feel they have the right to hijack the show (people from other shows are the worst hecklers). But that in itself, is a risk the show takes, and these people (who fell asleep in the show and were just generally showing themselves up) got the rollicking they deserved at the hands of some excellent comedians.
This is a cult you definitely want to join.
Reviewed by Laura
Stand 3, 22:05 (Sun-Wed)