Melbourne has always had a strong improv scene. All year round, there’s a good range of groups you can see in any given week. However, while the nature of improv means you’re getting something different every time, you often see the same games and formats time and time again. So it’s wonderfully refreshing when you can see new, riskier concepts being tried out. In Quiet Achievers, Charlie Sturgeon and Andrew Strano perform completely silent improv, taking inspiration from a randomized selection of 500 music tracks. This is spontaneous comedy stripped down to its basest principles.
Sturgeon and Strano make a great team. Sturgeon has a knack for bringing heart to a scene and often directs stories to unexpected places. Strano is a fearless and talented physical comic, unfailingly bringing the silly and occasionally getting weirdly sexual. The restriction of communication led to some confusing scenes where it wasn’t entirely clear what was going on, however, Sturgeon and Strano’s performances are strong enough that you’re still laughing, even when you’re baffled. It’s a style of comedy that’s infectiously likeable. Most of the audience got involved at various points in the show, and no-one broke the pact of silence. For that hour, we were all mimes.
One of the great benefits of this show is the fact that the silent performance makes it friendly to the Deaf community – part of a fantastic trend we’re seeing this year of more shows becoming accessible to the hearing impaired. Quiet Achievers would also be a fantastic pick for non-English speakers. By taking speech out of the equation, Sturgeon and Strano present comedy that is near-universal, drawing on expressions of emotion that we are all familiar with.
Quiet Achievers is a delightfully different show that all fans of improv should go and check out. The performers may be silent, but the laughs are loud.
Quiet Achievers is on at The Tuxedo Cat until April 4
For Tickets and Bookings check the MICF Website: