Left - Julia Zemiro
The premise of Spontaneous Broadway is similar to Whose Line is it Anyway?, with actors forced to improvise and perform impromptu musicals from song titles submitted by audience members. The four characters – Perth’s Glenn Hall as Vlad E Vostock, Genevieve Morris as Dame Helen Highwater, Geoff Paine as Chad Bradley and Julia Zemiro as Sally Anne De Finklestein – had their own unique personalities and idiosyncrasies, with the comedy factor building as the show went on.
The show opened somewhat awkwardly, with host Randy Patikin, played by Russell Fletcher, striding confidently onto the stage but failing to win over the audience immediately, who laughed half-heartedly at his showbiz gags. It was only after the four performers had been introduced and the show actually began that the belly laughs really started.
After such numbers as Julia Zemiro’s Happy Hypochondriac, in which she played Helga the German therapist living in New York, and Geoff Paine’s I Left My Bike on a Tuscan Mountain – possibly the funniest performance of the show – the audience voted on which song should form the basis of a musical. John Thorn provided piano backing to whatever genre was requested by the performer or audience – showcasing his ability to play anything from slapstick western to dark German cabaret to rock ballad.
With Randy Patikin putting the vote to the audience, the clear winner was the song I Lost My Knickers on the Last Train as part of the musical, Last Drinks. The four performers then had about three minutes to scurry behind the scenes to select appropriate costumes.
The ensuing performance was hilarious and full of plot twists, scene changes and new characters (who sometimes looked like old characters). Although all four were incredibly talented at improvising, the show’s stand-out comic performance was delivered by Genevieve Morris, who brought the house down as the pub owner, Vera. Her cockney accent and sturdy little figure had me doubled over in laughter and her lines were delivered with speed and confidence.
My only criticism besides the shaky start was that it was over all too soon – they had to assure us it was really the end when the curtain fell at 9.00 pm.
Perth Theatre Trust and His Majesty's Theatre present
Venue: His Majesty’s Theatre, 825 Hay St, Perth
Dates: Wednesday 30 September to Saturday 3 October, 7.30pm
Family Show: Saturday 3 October, 2pm
Adults Only Show: Friday 1 October, 10pm (18 years +)
Bookings: 9484 1133 | bocsticketing.com.au | or in person at any BOCS Ticketing outlet