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
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/
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
By Colin Flaherty
Given the pronunciation of the show title, it’s inevitable that sex features as a topic. In fact all the performers fall back to smutty jokes when their other material doesn’t get the big laughs. Timothy Clark, Morven Smith, Dilruk Jayasinha and Suren Jayemanne (aka Jay E Manne) are joined by a guest MC to bust out their best ten to twelve minutes. Despite mining similar topics, the performers are varied enough to provide an interesting taster plate of new comics on theMelbournecircuit.
The guest on the night I attended was Aiden Pyne who is an excitable wild man. He attempted to whip the crowd up into a frenzy with some dodgy puns, crazy poetry, weird rapping and plenty of shouting but he soon settled down with self deprecating tales of his lack of action in the boudoir. I was intrigued by his modus operandi of digging a comedy hole before introducing the next act, going against the first rule of being an MC. I’m not sure how others viewed it but I found his mini attempts at sabotage hilarious.
First to hit the stage is Clark with plenty of witty wordplay and puns of varying quality. His jokes go to very dark places with filth, offence or a combination of the two being the order of the day. It’s not delivered with any real nastiness, instead he adopts a confident smart-arse persona. He spouts these lines in a rather dismissive manner which manages to elicit laughter and then cause you feel guilty immediately afterwards. A fair chunk of his jokes can be telegraphed, giving you plenty of time to prepare your groan.
Smith is the token female, who delivers tales of sexual predators and jilted love, treading similar ground to the males on the program, albeit from a different perspective. She has an upbeat yet bitchy and cynical air to her stage persona that fits. The tried and proven method of delivering punchlines with biting sarcasm or feigned ignorance reinforces the amusing irony of her material.
The supremely charismatic Jayasinha is next to strut his stuff and impresses with his storytelling. We hear all about his disillusionment with his career, the apathy that struck during university and his lack of luck with the ladies. His main story about a mugging isn’t full of laughs but goes in some unexpected directions to maintain interest and deliver a satisfying pay off.
Rounding out the evening is Jayemanne who bills himself as deadpan but doesn’t really nail it. He is far too animated and expressive to develop the correct atmosphere for the form but his material is certainly subversive. A centrepiece routine about a full body massage manages to combine truncated storytelling with clever wordplay and puns. He comes across as a light hearted version of Clark, neatly bookending this amusing hour.
Originally reviewed at The Melbourne Fringe Festival and published by Chortle.Au on Monday 3rd Oct, ’11