Despite an energetic host (Adam Drake), a talented backing band, and some splashy production design, it's difficult to escape the feeling that Goose have been hoisted by their own petard. Amphetawaltz is the comedy group's return to the Fringe following two consecutive years of rapturous critical praise, but the pressure to raise the bar has created a classic bitten off/inability to chew scenario.
It's an enjoyable hour, by any standards, but the pitfall in question here is the bemusing decision to rely so heavily on audience participation. The gist of the show is a one-man murder mystery plot, intercut with breathless character skits and one-liners. Drake flits between voices and personas at will, all while keeping the crime caper narrative ticking over.
It's schizophrenic, high concept fun, and there's an ambitious scope to the rate of jokes and plot points. This carefully constructed plan falls apart, however, when an unreliable audience is asked to lend a hand every five minutes. Why exert this effort to craft an ornate show, and then surrender it all to (often reluctant) amateurs? Perhaps this was just bad luck today, but Drake appeared genuinely contemptuous of the volunteers. "You've already ruined one bit, you're not gonna ruin another", he is forced to tell a non-compliant punter.
He's a wheezy, sweaty figure by the end, having whizzed through a pun or a plot twist every 10 seconds. It's just a shame his hard work was undone by an audience to whom he really shouldn't have entrusted the show's core elements.