5 Plays is Fringe’s most underrated show. Played by Kansas City improv professionals, 5 Plays is original, funny, and refreshing.
Audience members were instructed make up a name for a play. We chose Killer Gnomes. Immediately and impressively, all six actors set the stage for a wealthy mother with twin 9-year old daughters, Clara and Jessica. Two other actors improvised as sinister gnomes plotting to eat the children at their birthday party. What followed was an insanely hilarious storyline invented on the spot. The deadpan, fourth wall-breaking humor mixed in with ridiculously funny pantomiming made this show so entertaining! It reminded me that true theatre is taking the collective imagination of the audience and turning it into a story.
Despite all the laughs in the audience, Killer Gnomes seemed to have a real message beneath it too: that children of chaos can find themselves as prey for predators. In order to restore their innocence, it takes a mother’s love and resilience to bring her children back. The actors ability to convey a coherent story with family values is strange, even creepy. It’s magical how Improv comedy gets delivery right without all the props and costumes.
This reviewer seriously encourages everyone to attend one of their shows. You will laugh at their characters, their punchlines, and randomized scene changes. You never know which story you’ll see as each night is unique. This is why 5 Plays is truly a hidden gem at Fringe; it’s an utterly ephemeral experience of impromptu comedy that everyone should see.