Fringe Review: Sense and Spontaneity

A comedic nod to all things Austen.


Sense and Spontaneity is an improvised show suitable for all ages- great for families. It’s a comedic nod to all things Austen. The improv centred around the performers changing roles quite a few times, made possible through copious wardrobe changes. The show’s stars Esther Longhurst alongside Jessica Messenger- who proclaims herself to be Jane Austen’s biggest fan. The duo have wrought their love for the legendary Victorian author into an hour of improvised giggles and humour.

While I enjoyed the costumes and the soundtrack to the show, I was left wanting. It could possibly be attributed to my lack of knowledge on Jane Austen’s work (though I have tried). I did in fact try to pick up Sense and Sensibility a few weeks before the show to help give me a better understanding- after all, it was a sold out improv show. The good news is the audience does not need extensive knowledge on Austen and her works. The bad news is- with or without that knowledge- I still did not enjoy the show as much as I thought I would. This could be attributed to the use of “safe humour” in the show. While understandable given the family friendly label, it did not seem to give me the kicks I was looking for.

I did, however, appreciate the absurdity of the improvisations. If nothing else, I adore the absurd and its left-of-field-ness.   Longhurst and Messenger certainly provided strength and shining light. They excelled in finding new paths to deviate their show towards, while all the while still maintaining the interest of the audience, and I assume in some cases, their understanding.

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