The Gob Squad is a crowd pleasing addition to Latitude’s theatre program. The four person improv troupe become a regular fixture on the festival site; you can see them daily, running half naked through fields wielding nothing but selfie sticks.
The story revolves around a simple mission: one of the members is attempting to become a hero within an hour, winning a kiss from a festival goer in the process. The team then disperse across the festival sight, launching into improv with random strangers (as well as using some scripted material) in an attempt to create a groundswell of support for the newly dubbed hero.
Interestingly, the show itself features no live performance. Rather, the troop film an hour of content (wrapping minutes before the audience enter) and in a feat of fast paced editing, show their antics through four split screens on stage.
The Gob Squad is a formidable technical achievement; one has to admire their mastery of the editing process and disciplined ability keep their performances in synchrony. Their gags seemed to get big laughs from the audience, though often it seems there is something inflexible about their improvisation skills; when members of the public rise to the challenge, you can sense the performers take a back-step, dampening the moment instead of escalating it. Equally, some of the centre-piece gags (stripping down to underwear, falling over) feel schlocky and tired. That said, the ability to make true, family friendly material with cross-generational appeal should not be underestimated. 3/5
Review written by Sean Gilbert.
Gob Squad performed at this year’s Latitude Festival from Thursday 14th until Sunday 17th July. For more information on the festival, visit here…