It would be a crime to miss it
By Joana Simmons
After a sold-out season at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Impro Melbourne’s encore season of Grand Theft Impro is speeding full throttle to deliver fast paced improvisational goodness. Procuring ten titles from the audience, the five players deliver scenes, songs, and storytelling over the 50-minute show, resulting in hundreds of laughs.
The cast write the ten audience suggestions on ten cards and hang them at the back of the stage. Titles for the evening I attended included “I love my chicken” “Where’s my kale” “Sauerkraut and chips” “Such is life when you are a stuffed racoon” and “Chaffing.” At the end of each scene, it is put to the audience to vote whether the scene is complete, or a fail. If the result is the latter, the players must redo the scene, until the audience gives it the thumbs up. The quick witted cast – comprised of Rik Brown, Jenny Lovell, Patrick Duffy, Mike Bryant and special guest from Sydney Steve Kimmens and accompanied by Ian White on the keyboard- worked together to present an array of scenes, contexts and characters. The innovation and skill level is very high, with the cast using multiple improvisational tools and snappy callbacks to create captivating and cackle-worthy entertainment.
I was very impressed with how quickly the players were able to flesh out scenes by giving elaborate detail to their scene partner, setting the story early, and raising the stakes to dramatic proportions. It’s these things that give us the audience something substantial to chew on and split our sides over. Some of the scene endings and transitions were naturally a little clunky, as the tech and music are also improvised; that being said, the cast did recover well and redeemed any false starts or endings with a smart one-liner. For a show with such strong structure impro-scene-wise, it is noticeable when the song structure is not as strong. I would have loved to hear a verse-chorus-verse-chorus song with a consistent rhyme scheme; which is notoriously difficult to do – but if anyone can, it’s this dynamic crew.
Warm up your winter with a hot whisky, a pub meal and all the hilarity being dished up at the Court House Hotel every Saturday till August 27th. Tonight’s show finished with a dazzling musical journey titled “Misery and Mermaid Tails”: t’was a fantastic finale that left me feeling warm inside. Every night is different, so catch one or catch them all; you won’t be disappointed.
Saturday nights, 8–9pm May 28th,- August 27th
The Court House Hotel
86-90 Errol Street
North Melbourne, VIC 3051
$15 online, $20 at the door. Show only.
Book online via Ticketmaster