Improvisation is about taking risks, intentionally moving out of one’s comfort zone to try something new, make an offer of an idea for someone to respond to without knowing exactly what will happen. Impro Melbourne does this week in week out, night after night, every time they get on stage, and they have achieved it particularly well with their latest offering: their Hallowe’en Classic festival.
This time, the show is divided into three segments: an open ‘More or Less’ section where directors begin ghoulish, ghostly scenes inspired by vampires and all things spooky, and the audience gets to decide ‘more’ or ‘less’ determining whether the scene will continue or not. Mike Bryant was a stand-out performer on this particular night, delivering a ‘vampire 101 class’ with such self-assurance, you would think he had been offering the unit at RMIT for years.
The second segment of the evening was ‘Gypsy Prov’ which highlighted the versatility of some of the Impro Melb ‘main-stays’ as well as showing off the talent of some of the interstate players. The wonderful thing about the Hallowe’en Classic Impro festival is its inclusion of guest players from other parts of Australia and the world. Players from Perth, Queensland, Canberra and New Zealand all pitched in with startling appearances to entertain the appreciative audience.
The final segment of the evening was 'Sondheim Unscripted' which was produced as a show on its own at this year’s Melbourne Comedy Festival to a great degree of success. Sondheim is hard to perform even when scripted and heavily rehearsed, musically and lyrically, so to attempt to produce a piece of Sondheim-esque entertainment based on information gathered from the audience, well, it’s a tough ask. To its credit, Impro Melbourne has a way of making the impossible possible and did so again with this particular avant-garde, narrative-driven Sondheim-esque creation never to be seen again.
Special guests for the evening included Glenn Hall (WA), Dan Bain (QLD) and Robbie Ellis (NZ), playing along side Impro Melbourne stars: Lliam Amor, Rik Brown, Mike Bryant, Simon Dowling, Sean Fabri, Jason Geary, Jenny Lovell, Xavier Michelides, Karl McConnell, Rama Nicholas, Tim Redmond, Anna Renzenbrink, Jamie Robertson, Patti Stiles and Kevin Yank.
If you haven’t seen an Impro Melbourne show, step out of your own comfort zone, take a risk and just do it! And if you have seen one, they just keep getting better, so don’t miss the next one! They are the best fun you can have sitting in a dark space, surrounded by strangers.
Impro Melbourne presents
Venue: Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street St. Kilda
Dates/Times: 29 October @ 7:30pm (2 hours with interval), 30, 31 October @ 7:30pm (50min), 8:30pm (50mins) & 9:30pm (60mins)
Tickets: $20.00 per person per night
Bookings: 03 9534 3388 | www.theatreworks.org.au