Exploding Heads Impro – A Night of Improvised Comedy

By Cathy Culliver

The very nature of improvisational comedy means the audience never knows what it’s going to get, and neither do the performers. It could all go horribly wrong, or it could all go hilariously right. At the end of the day, it all comes down to having quality performers on stage who know their stuff.

Luckily for Exploding Heads Impro, they have just that. Performing together only since May this year, this group of Melbourne performers are steadily building a reputation for being the newest, most exciting improvisation troupe on the scene, thanks to their weekly performances at Smith Street’s The 86.

In addition to their regular Monday night shows, the group is putting on extra Sunday and Thursday shows during the Melbourne Fringe, and it’s well worth checking out.

For the most part, the show I saw was really enjoyable. If there was a negative, it was that one or two of the performers looked a little lost on stage. There were several moments where I just wished they’d take the ball and run with it, and the show would have been so much better for it.

That being said, this was only a small problem. The rest of the ensemble were clearly very talented, experienced and completely at ease with the job ahead of them; that is, make up stuff on the spot and make sure it’s funny. Not an easy task, but they managed it really well.

The evening was split into two parts. The first was a battle of sorts, with two teams facing off in a series of different skits, each with its own rules for what the performers could and couldn’t do. Some of these worked really well, some less so, but hey, that’s the nature of improvisation.

The second part of the night was called “Flashback”, a sort of “This is Your Life” skit following the life of an imaginary character, with the ensemble cast jumping in to play characters in scenes from their life. What resulted on the night I was there was a rollicking take of a mother-killing male model named Tony with an unhealthy attachment to a chicken named Clarence. So as you can see, anything can happen.

Exploding Heads may not be the most polished comedy show you’ll see at the Fringe, but the unpredictable nature of the show is probably one of its biggest assets. It’s exciting to watch and see what these guys come up with, right there before your eyes.

Sure there are some awkward moments, but there are also very funny moments that make it all worth it. But I can’t tell you exactly what will happen; you’ll just have to come along yourself and see for yourself.

Its on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays until the 14th at The 86 in Smith St Fitzroy, for further info, visit the Melbourne Fringe website http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/exploding-heads-impro/

5 Good Reasons to see Madeleine Tucker – Olympik Phever

Madeleine Tucker has a new show at Fringe inspired by the recent Olympics – sorry Olympiks – Hoo Haa and these are 5 Good Reasons to see it.

1. We’ve built the World’s First Tarpaulin TV.

2. My dad features in it. He works at the tax office.

3. It’s got heaps of top tunes. Like ‘Race to the Race’ – about being late for your race at the Olympics – and ‘Artists and Cops’ – inspired by the Fitzroy police station.

4. It’s on at the Fringe Hub – surrounded by many other smashing acts.

5. Melbourne Fringe has just given us an extended season – that’s 7 more magnificent shows!!

As #5 there says, Melbourne Fringe has incredibly just extended the show for a second week!
This is a VERY last minute change so we are looking to spread the word as quickly as possible!

Madeleine Tucker – Olympik Phever runs until the 13th of October at The Lithuaniun club


5 Good Reasons to see The Improv Conspiracy – Introducing The Harold

The Improv Conspiracy is a Melbourne based improvised comedy group who  work in the hot-right-now  “Chicago-style” improvisation, currently experiencing a renaissance in cities like NYC and LA. This Fringe season they are demonstrating a classic Chicago format known as “The Harold”.

1. This is not the standard improv that you’re used to.  We don’t play silly games or prance around with outrageous accents trying to make you like us.  In the Harold format we make whip-smart scenes and create patterns that pay off by the end of the show in unique and entertaining ways.

2. Every show is completely different.  What you see on Wednesday will be completely different from what your friend might see on Thursday.  This can become addictive: in our first week we had one guy who came to 3 of our 4 shows, and apparently he’s coming back tonight!

3. We’re the only ones in Melbourne working exclusively on The Harold format.  The next closest city to check one out might be Los Angeles.  The price of a ticket to our show is about 1% the price of that plane ticket.  Do the maths!

4. People are saying kind words about us!  The Festival Nerd blog says “Since this one is obviously going to be entirely new every night, I’m hoping to go back a few times. Definitely recommended if you like improv, or comedy in any form. It’s loads of fun.” [source: http://festivalnerd.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/welcome-to-the-life-of-a-festival-nerd-melbourne-fringe-day-1/].  Local comedy guru Katherine Phelps says “The Improv Conspiracy and The Harold provide an evening of both well-grounded and lighter-than-air performance that is exciting to watch.” [source:http://katherinephelps.com/2012/10/2012-melbourne-fringe-%E2%80%A2-the-improv-conspiracy-%E2%80%A2-one-man-debate/]

5. If you like the show, we’ll teach you how to do it!  Some of our members have only been improvising for 4 months, and we’re constantly running new workshops to get people involved.  We perform year-round, so you could potentially be up on stage within a few months.  Comedy Festival, anyone?

The Improv Conspiracy’s show Introducing The Harold is at The Croft Institute.  Details about the show can be found at the Melbourne Fringe Website: http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/the-improv-conspiracy/

Details about the group can be found at http://www.improvconspiracy.com
Twitter: @TICImprov

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/improvconspiracy

5 Good Reasons To See – Lincoln Daw in The Next Superpower

Lincoln Daw spent three years in China teaching English at a Kindergarden and he’s managed to garner enough material from his adventures for a comedic festival show.

Here are his 5 Good Reasons To See The Next Superpower at The Portland Hotel

1. If you’re a directionless bum, with no job prospects, no hope and no future, let a fellow directionless bum tell you about life in a country, where fluent English is a golden key to success.

2. Because China is coming, to build ghost cities. They build 10 of these per annum. Australia has the land…

3. In a prestigious Beijing Kindergarten, Lincoln Daw taught the next generation of leaders in China, the next generation of leaders in the world! He’ll show you how to kowtow.

4. Their choice of English names (ie “Gorge” “Cridge” “King”) would make an Aussie bogan turn purple.

5. A first hand account from a person who lived in China, and survived to tell the tale.


Lincoln Daw’s show  The Next Superpower is at The Portland Hotel details can be found at the Melbourne Fringe Website http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/the-next-superpower/

5 Good Reasons to See – Victoria Healy’s Anatomy

After her successful show Independent Women Pt 2, which explored the girl power anthems of her generation, Victoria Healy has written a brand new show exploring things from deep inside her, and all of us.

1. You will laugh! Just check out some of these jokes that didn’t make the cut!
Cut Anatomy Joke

2. You will learn something! I promise. I’ve spent the last 3 months researching the human body, and it’s been a challenge because I am very squeamish. Just check out this video of me watching a medical doco.


Vic watches Inside the Human Body

3. You will be entertained! What’s not entertaining about blood, tendons, secretions, bone marrow, connective tissue and cartilage?

4. You will have a top night out! The Portland have a great menu and huge selection of beer. And we all know the formula: Beer + Comedy = Super-Happy-Fun-Times.

5. You will get a free magnet! A free magnet is guaranteed to all people who book tickets. Yay, free stuff.

For tickets and information about Victoria Healy’s Anatomy go to the Melbourne Fringe website http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/victoria-healy-s-anatomy/

Melbourne Fringe Festival 2012

By Lisa Clark

The days are getting longer and warmer and its time to come out of winter hibernation and spring into Melbourne Fringe Festival. The comedy section is the biggest category in the programme, but its important not to ignore the comedy related shows in the other categories such as Lisa-Skye’s talk show Art, Sex and Snacks. in the Special Events section, Geraldine Quinn’s The Piano Has Been Drinking in the Cabaret section, Die Roten Punkte’s Battle Royal in the Circus section and Diana Nguyen (from the fabulous Phi & Me) in 5 Ways to Disappoint Your Vietnamese Mother in the performance section and there are plenty of others to discover.

It’s always exciting to get a chance of catching up with Melbourne International Comedy Festival shows you might have missed, esp if they were sold out. This year you can catch up with the Barry Award winning Dr Brown: Befrdfgth, Damian Callinan’s The Merger, RAW and Golden Gibbo winners Lessons with Luis – Luis Presents: Kidney Kingdom, Neil Sinclair in Panic, Best Newcomer at MICF Tegan Higginbotham in Million Dollar Tegan and Truth by Slow Clap.

There are also brand new shows from established comedians and unknowns entering the fray, doing comedy in all sorts of styles and genres with the odd intriguing entry like musician Pinky Beecroft doing a stand up show called Mainstream Freak.

Although the festival has already begun there are a lot of comedy shows beginning this week. Most have only short runs, though, so get in quick.

Information about all things Melbourne Fringe can be found at their website http://www.melbournefringe.com.au