Tag: Jenny Lovell

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: A New Australian Play – CROSSED

A moving and immersive theatre experience

By Kate Boston-Smith

I did not know what to expect as I picked up my ticket from the always-fabulous door staff at La Mama’s Courthouse on Thursday for the opening night of Crossed, a new work by young playwright Chris Summers and directed by Matt Scholten

The story is based around the tragic true event from 2010 when a teenage boy from Melbourne’s northern suburbs was shot and killed at a skate-park by police. 

The stage was set down the middle of the theatre with the audience on either side.  Over Kat Chan’s sparse set was hung a long sheet of clear- corrugated plastic that literally encased the cast in the suburbia they were going to set up for us, and that they did with desolate precession.

Summer’s character choices were spot on, and Platform Youth performed them brilliantly.  Each narrated the event from their perspective.  From the moment the cast entered the stage, the story was flying.

The characters fired their lines with an explosive desperation, expressing their need to share their version of the event and to wonder how they could have changed the outcome had they made different choices in the lead-up to the shooting. 

The retelling of their stories revealed the disconnection they felt from their family, school or community around them.  The heat of the text reflected the intensity of their individual heartache, and as this intensity grew so too did the heat of the atmosphere in the theatre. 

The lighting by Lisa Mibus and sound design by Pete Goodwin were industrial and fitting for this harsh stories.  The exemplary cast comprised of Prag Bhatia, Matthew Candeland, Nick Linehan, Jenny Lovell and Ioan Roberts carried off this fast-paced script beautifully.  In the build-up to the climax, I looked at audience members sitting across from me and saw them literally leaning forward, such was the anticipation of the moment. 

I particularly enjoyed the roles of the mother and Dino.  The mother’s loss and isolation from the community she has always lived in and Dino’s intense bravado.  That said, each character provided an incredibly interesting look into their private world and their perception of the moment at the skate-park.

All in all I thought this interpretation of that day in late 2010 was an insightful and superbly agonizing re-telling.   

Crossed by Chris Summers

Dates:Thur 9 June–Sun 19 June 2011
Times:8pm Tue-Sat, 2pm Sat/Sun, 5pm Sun
Tickets:$25 Full, $15 Con, $22.50 Group 10+

Venue : La Mama Courthouse
349 Drummond Street, Carlton

Bookings : 03 9347 6142, www.lamama.com.au

Photos by Deryk McAlpin