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Camden Fringe: Rizzolo Chat!, Canal Café Theatre

Part of the Camden Fringe 2013

Written and directed by Matthew Radway
★★★
Pros: The sketch troupe engage well with the audience and there are some very funny moments. The roving reporter offers some of the biggest laughs throughout the performance.
Cons: Some of the jokes fall flat leaving the audience in an awkward silence.
Our Verdict: Tighter delivery would make this production very successful in future runs at Fringe Festivals.
Courtesy of the Camden Fringe
Following a run of productions as part of The Secret Variety Club comedy night, Rizzolo Chat! has made its debut as part of the Camden Fringe Festival. The show, performed at the Canal Café Theatre in Little Venice, depicts a spoof chat show with the host, Rizzolo, interviewing a variety of celebrity guests. Sketch troupe The Intimate Strangers have previously received high praise for their comedy sketches and this latest production is certainly very funny in places.
The stage is sparsely furnished, with two chairs either side of a television screen. Rizzolo (played by Matthew Radway) is a larger than life, flamboyant character who is intent on having his show picked up for a television series. His first guest is a celebrity blogger who is publicising his new book, followed by a director who has ridiculous ideas for new movies. A conspiracy theorist, an alcoholic Tory MP and a horror movie actor (all played by James Taylor Thomas) make up the rest of the ‘celebrity’ guests invited to Rizzolo’s show.
Howard Jackson, (Radway) is the roving reporter featured in the video segments that are used to separate the interviews. Covering a variety of topics including drugs, the British Empire, the human body and Pirates, Jackson interviewed people off the street to get an honest insight into the thoughts of the British public. These segments were the highlight of the show and I found myself looking forward to the end of the interview sketches in order to see more of the roving reporter.
The engagement with the audience was good, and at one point two members were invited on stage to act out a dating scenario with Rizzolo which brought a lot of laughs. Unfortunately, a number of jokes fell flat and a deathly silence greeted the cast members; in particular I found the sketch involving a child from Great Ormond Street a bit difficult to watch. In addition, it was difficult to concentrate during the sketches with the director and horror movie actor as the characters were dull, although Rizzolo did help to liven up the act.
Overall the show is a funny one and generated some great reactions and plenty of laughter. With tighter performances this could be one to look out for at future Fringe Festivals.

Seen the show yourself? Agree or disagree? Submit your own review with our Camden Fringe Big Audience Project!

Rizzolo Chat! has now finished its run at the Camden Fringe. For more information visit http://www.intimatestrangers.net/.

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