FRINGE 2019 – “A Total Cop Out” – The Adelaide Room at the Duke of Brunswick Hotel – 3K

By Julia Cudsi

Improv shows have long been a staple of the Adelaide Fringe. Generally inexpensive, they provide an excellent night out for audience members who want to have a few drinks and laugh at side-splittingly funny people making hilarious things up on the spot. As long as improv artists do not stray too far from the winning formula of a loose concept + audience participation + adult themes and swear words + crazy accents, generally nothing can go wrong.

And very little did go wrong with Tenuous Link’s debut performance of “A Total Cop Out”. Requiring the audience to supply a crime (in our case, body snatching), an expert (somewhat dubiously, a Sherlock Holmes-ian sound expert) and a location (an excellently selected “dirty youth hostel”), this formed the premise of an hour-long show involving a dastardly criminal hellbent on stealing cadavers and selling them to medical students to work on in hospitals (credibility was strained somewhat when a murder was committed in a hospital, only for the fresh corpse presumably to be sold back to … the same hospital?!). Along for the ride were some hearing dogs who met a very sad fate, =a sound engineer with significant familial and self-esteem issues, a detective on her fourth day and various other misfits including a series of Fitbit-style murder weapons including an exercise shovel and exercise knife.

I have seen the cast of Tenuous Link on many previous occasions and in many different iterations, and am almost always impressed at their quick wit and ability to draw together a coherent storyline. “A Total Cop Out” was certainly an entertaining way to while away an hour. Having said that, at times the performance came off as a little amateur and, well, improvised. Given the genre, this is not necessarily a criticism – but if you are expecting a show that is absolutely polished and well rehearsed I would suggest that you attend some scripted theatre.

If you are looking for some adventure and a great way to spend an evening laughing (and groaning) at jokes, you might as well do so at “A Total Cop Out”.



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