Tag: Impro Melbourne

Melbourne Fringe 2016: THE FAIRYTALE COOKBOOK

Serving up delicious and dynamic kids’ theatre

By Rebecca Waese

The Fairytale Cookbook, devised by Jason Geary and delivered by a rotating cast of seriously funny performers from Impro Melbourne, serves up a winning recipe for school holiday fun this Fringe Festival.

Fairytale Cookbook.jpg

Under the skillful guidance of the Chef character, played by Timothy Redmond on the day I attended, the kids in the audience were encouraged to pick the ingredients to make original fairytales that sent the actors into the realm of the ridiculous and super silly. I had thought the show would ask the kids to make up new endings for the likes of Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin, but it was far more creative than that. Kids could pick characters from a wide-ranging list including a two-headed person, a ninja, a mermaid or a dancing bear and see the characters take on challenges in magical situations. In the performance I saw with my six-year-old daughter, the fairytales included a spider who could only move forwards through the world and a genie who lived in a tooth and got captured by a giant beard. The kids were delighted to see their ideas come to life and the players, combined from the Company and the Rookie ensembles, really listened to the kids, allowing them to clap for the person who would play the lead role in each story, decide how the stories would end, and do all the important character-building and plot development, even when, in our show, it called for potatoes to shoot out of a toilet named Flushhead.

The age guide of 3 and up does not mean the show is too young for older kids. While the players were gentle and patient with the littlest spectators, there was enough wit and bite to have the entire audience, adults included, truly enjoying the show. There were no props or sets or costumes needed. The cast used only the list of storytelling ingredients and said yes to all the suggestions from the kids and the collective creative energy in the room was palpable. After the show, my kids were inspired to make up new combinations of fairy tales at home from the list for hours. My daughter told me, “The show didn’t feel like an hour! It felt like a few minutes because I was having so much fun.”

High-quality, super funny, deeply creative and empowering, The Fairytale Cookbook was a terrific intro to impro for kids. Do yourself a favour and take yourself and your kids to this show.

 Venue: Fringe Hub: Arts House – Meeting Room. $15

521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne.

Dates: Thurs Sept 29-Sat October 1, 10 am- 11 am.

Bookings: https://melbournefringe.com.au/program?event/fairytale-cookbook/5c51cecb-6313-476c-8b70-b17bb38fa036

Rebecca Waese is a Lecturer in Creative Arts and English at La Trobe University.

Impro Melbourne Presents GRAND THEFT IMPRO

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.

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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.

Show Dates

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

REVIEW: Emily Taylor and Scott Brennan in IS THIS YOUR LIFE?

Improvisation + cabaret = a great night of comedy!

By Kate Boston-Smith

As you walk into the ever-gorgeous and oh-so intimate space of The Butterfly Club’s showroom, there is electricity in the air. 

Already on stage, performers Emily Taylor and Scott Brennan with accompanist Gordon Dorin are primed and ready.  Such is the energy and connection between the three that Taylor and Brennan literally cannot stand in stillness. 

Stalking the stage like playful lion cubs ready to pounce, these highly skilled performers are itching to grab their audience, and lovingly get them involved in the piece.  And this they do with generosity, care and feather-in-the-ear tickling play. 

Obviously seasoned improv artists (Taylor and Brennan from Spontaneous Broadway, Dorin from Impro Melbourne), these three have an unspoken understanding and pitch-perfect musical intuition together.  

Their joint performances of spontaneous song and invented narrative come from the seamless interweaving of offers from audience conversations generated in the first ten minutes of the show. It is beautiful to observe how they listen to each other and us, and to see how they then develop the story on the spot. 

Their musicality is matched by their imagination and the audience travels with them as they paint very detailed imagery with their stories and songs.  Brennan, a crackerjack to watch, oozes character and wit. 

Dorin on piano is heavenly to listen to, and is so incredibly in synch with the other two performers that you would think each song has been rehearsed several times over.  The only time his eyes were not on the performers was when he dropped his head to laugh at the spontaneous hilarities happening on stage: always a delight to see!

Last, but by no means least, Emily Taylor performs with a constant twinkle in her eye.  With cool dexterity she switches between characters and unabashedly creates and explores the most absurd scenarios. 

In this instance, her adoption of a human-sized bunny moving through society is both ridiculous and incredible.  She is a fearless performer, and deserves the rewards the audience throw to her. 

Is This Your Life? is a great piece for those who love to see a little bit of themselves on stage.  These three performers are brilliant at their craft, and clearly enjoy what they do and achieve, making this show is a joy to watch

Date: Thurs 25 to Sun 28 August

Time: Thur – Sat at 9pm, Sun at 8pm 

Tickets: $22/$18

Bookings: www.thebutterflyclub.com

Duration: 60 min approx