CG1puttUcAA7vSE Acme Comedy NoHo has brought their “completely improvised & totally hilarious Medieval musical” Camenot to Hollywood Fringe, and just like the postcard says, their one-act gems are not only improvised from start to finish, each resulting mini-musical is as funny and tuneful and imaginative as any musical theater or improv lover could wish for.

Since no two Camenots share plot or songs, you won’t see “The Salty Curse” ever again, but here’s a taste of what you missed.

Cast members Brian Giovanni, Beth Leckbee, Kimberly Lewis, Joseph Limbaugh, and Amanda Troop took off from a pair of audience suggestions (a Medieval noun and adjective) and let their comedic and musical talents … and their imaginations do the rest.

The full-cast show-opener “Yo Ho” introduced us to Zakandar and Alexis, setting forth aboard ship with Normandy their goal. (We knew they were siblings because when Zakandar told Alexis “You’re like a little sister to me,” she responded “I am your little sister.”)

A mysterious woman named Melva then showed up on the ship with a tale of woe sung in razzmatazz mode: “Once upon a time there was a girl. That’s me,” accompanied by backup singers’ improvised seagull caws.

Zakandar, Alexis, Melva, Neptuna and Nebulous’s adventures both shipboard and overboard got sung about in “Wonderfins” (with improvised fin-eography danced to a samba beat), in a bluesy flashback ditty about the curse that killed Alexis’s mother, in a Kander-&-Ebby “Below The Waves,” and in other gems whose melodies might have been suggested by Jonathan Green on keyboard, but whose lyrics and harmonies are entirely the cast’s creations. There was even a chase sequence set to song.

Director Brian Lohmann, having honed his improv chops in Impro Theatre’s Jane Austen UnScripted, Shakespeare UnScripted, Sondheim UnScripted, and more, proved the perfect choice to helm Camenot for the Fringe, and the quintet onstage at the performance reviewed could not have been more sensational, with special snaps to Lewis’s Carol Burnett-worthy wackiness and Troop’s Ethel Merman-worthy pipes.

Camenot returns in July for monthly visits to Acme Comedy NoHo, the best possible news for anyone who might have missed it at the Fringe.

–Steven Stanley
June 27, 2015