Look, Mixtape is great. Go see it. At the Fringe Festival in August or the next time it’s at the Live Theatre. It’s a really fun experience, from the start, what it does really well is perfectly balances clever writing and fantastic performances with a concept designed to draw in audiences who might feel a little intimidated by the idea of going to the theatre.
The basic idea is this: Each of the bite sized sketches that make up Mixtape is based on a song and can only use the words from that song. The audience is given the opportunity to play along by trying to guess the song the sketch is based on (and the artist behind it). Whoever gets the most correct answers wins the Golden Mixtape.
Before seeing the show I wondered if it would either be too easy or too hard to work out the songs. But the great strength of the show is that, while some songs are harder to work out than others, it’s not about making it difficult for the audience. A lot of the fun of the show comes from the moment half way through a sketch when a cast member says something and all of a sudden, the collective audience suddenly gets it.
These moments where the penny drops give the show some of its biggest laughs but also create fantastic moments of shared experience that draw on not only the audience’s knowledge of popular music, but – with sketches based on things like the X-Factor and 1950’s adverts – their knowledge of Pop Culture as a whole.
The show as a whole is really well produced but two things really stood out for me. Firstly, the cast were great and were really good at being different people in different sketches, this was helped along a lot by just how good they all seemed to be at doing different accents. Look, I don’t know exactly what actors are taught through the varying channels that teach them their craft, but I’ve never seen so many people do so many different accents so well.
Secondly, the writing was fantastic. I’ve never given it a go, but I imagine it’s a bit of a challenge to write a sketch using only the words from a given song, never mind using those criteria to write something that’s not too difficult for the audience to get. But the writers did all of this and wrote some funny stand-alone sketches.
I’d love to go into the songs that the show used to base sketches on, but I don’t want to be the reason spoilers for the Fringe show exist on the internet. So instead I’ll just say that it’s a really fun experience that draws on the audience’s shared popular culture knowledge in order to create a show that is cleverly written, incredibly funny and features a fantastic cast.
Mixtape is great. Go see it.
Mixtape’s Edinburgh Fringe preview at the Live Theatre took place on July 24th 2015. They’ll be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from the 07th – 31st August, more details and ticket info avaliable here. They can be found on Twitter at @ukmixtape and their Facebook page is here. For all other information please visit their website.