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Late Night Improvisation, Melbourne Town Hall

There is something wonderful about watching a bunch of energetic people willingly place themselves in potentially humiliating situations. This improvisation troupe certainly did that, and they did it with so much gumption that the energy never flagged.

The improvisation topics were regularly called out, requiring the crew to shift gears at a Keystone Cops–esque pace. By flinging so much material at the wall at such a rapid rate, some of it is bound to stick. One of the advantages of comedy improvisation, though, is that the stuff that fails miserably is almost always funnier than the stuff that works. For example, one of the sketches required an actor to become a walking tree, a la the ‘Ents’ in The Lord of the Rings. Seeing a regular-sized man unconvincingly attempting to assume titanic proportions is just one of the beyond-ridiculous experiences that arose during the course of the night.

One of the common problems with improvisational comedy is the risk of the jokes becoming too drawn-out and arcane to be funny. Fortunately, the team nixed this problem by keeping the scene changes rapid and the challenges unexpected. Even when the set-pieces were old hat – for instance, getting a couple to change their accents every few seconds – the manic propulsion still held.

The crew’s obvious love of working with one another gave the night a warm, friendly feel – something that’s often lacking in the dark and twisted comedy circuit. I hope this talented young troupe plays in lots more comedy festivals to come.   TR

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