5 GOOD REASONS TO SEE IMPROVILICIOUS: The Improvised Guide To High School

1. It’s a side splitting improvised guide to surviving high school with tips on everything you need to

know including bullying, asking people out and most importantly what to do when you send a snap

chat pic to the wrong person. AWKWARD!!!

 

2. It’s created by super hilarious, multi award winning, stand up comedian and improviser Jimmy

James Eaton.

 

3. It doesn’t reference the band One Direction at all because OMG they are so totes two years ago.

Five Seconds Of Summer 4EVA!!!

 

4. It stars the very funny Ben Russell and Cassie V!!! They’re so hot right now!

 

5. It contains a joke about the Hunger Games. Who doesn’t like a good Hunger Games Reference?

 

The Improvised Guide To High School is on at Melb Town Hall – Powder Room

For Details and bookings see MICF website http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2015/season/shows/improvilicious-the-improvised-guide-to-high-school

Written it Down: Live!

By Elyce Phillips

Written it Down is an improvised sitcom created by Matt Saraceni and Dave Zwolenski that has seen a lot of success. Starting out as an independent webseries, it has since been picked up by the ABC and Funny or Die. The premise is fairly simple – each episode involves a scene with two comedians. One has an important piece of news that they must tell the other, but they don’t know what that is until they read the piece of paper it’s written on.

The live version of the show was broader in its format – a mixture of Written it Down style sketches and short-form improv games. All of the performers had made appearances in the series and are regulars in the Melbourne improv scene – Jimmy James-Eaton, Liam Ryan, Sophie Kneebone, Michelle Nussey, Gillian Cosgriff, Stuart Packham and Cameron Neill. It was a fantastic group, each proving themselves to be quick-witted and hilarious. Packham’s baffling portrayal of a South African rollerblader was a stand-out.

Most of the show’s games would have been familiar to anyone who attends improv nights like The Big Hoo-Haa – Lines from a Text, Perfect Match, Scenes from a Bucket. A highlight of the show was a game where an audience member was pulled into a scene and could only use lines taken form interviews with footballers. The one Written it Down piece performed saw the group pair off and break up with each other for reasons submitted by the audience earlier – soy sauce addiction, smelling like their mother and being in love with Justin Bieber. The scenes were all very funny, however, the way they were staged, rotating through the three pairs several times, was a little disjointed.

Written it Down: Live! was closer to Theatresports than a live version of the webseries, but with a group of performers this strong, I can’t imagine anyone would have been bothered by that. The spirit of the series was there in all of the games they played. It’s a joy to see these guys perform, no matter what they do.

Written it Down: Live was a one-night-only event, but you can watch their webseries at http://writtenitdown.com/
For a similar live experience, check out The Big Hoo-Haa! – Thursdays, 8pm at the Portland Hotelhttp://www.hoohaamelbourne.com.au/

5 Good Reasons to See Shakesprovisation

1. Much Ado About Something
Shakesprovisation suits those of you who love the Bard, or those of you who resent him because you had to study Hamlet in high school. Using only your suggestions, the players will create a Shakespearean play for you on the spot (with hilarious results).

2. Romeos and Juliets
This show features some of Australia’s finest improvisers- your favourite members of The Big HooHaa, Impromptunes, The Improv Comspiracy, and Fresh Blood’s Written it Down including Matt Saraceni, Ben Russell, Sophie Kneebone, Daniel Pavatich, Tegan Mulvany, Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd, Luke Ryan, Natalie Holmwood, Roland Lewis, Sarah Reuben, Cameron Neill, Sarah Reuben, Jimmy James Eaton, and Brianna Williams.

3. All’s Well That Ended Well
The latest Perth ex-pat offering, this show is new to Victoria after enjoying a SOLD OUT season at Perth Fringe 2013. Come and enjoy what literally tens of Perth audience members could not!

4. Tight-Ass Adronicus
Can’t afford to see the latest professional Shakespearean production? Wish you could see Hugo Weaving carve it up in Macbeth, but don’t have the funds? This is a cheap alternative (with hilarious results!)

5. Midspring Night’s Dream
Shakesprovisation is on at the Portland Hotel in Melbourne’s CBD at 6pm. Pop in after work, enjoy a pint of James Squire, see the show and still be able to get home in time to see The Bachelor. #teamsam

For information and tickets see the Fringe Website:

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/shakesprovisation/#

Loman Empire: The Sitcom – An unauthorised satire of Death of a Salesman

By Lisa Clark

Who can resist such a delicious idea of a comic sitcom version of the Great American Tragedy Death of a Salesman with such a fabulous cast? Danny McGinlay has done the inspired re-imagining of Arthur Miller’s play and manages to satirise the great American sitcom at the same time.

The audience is part of this production, playing the part of a live studio audience at the recording of a sitcom called The Loman Empire. The cast are being made up as the audience enters.  The warm-up guy (Lachlan Millsom) sets the mood well, introducing us to the stars of the show and prompting us throughout. An applause sign flashes as characters enter and at end of scenes and the tech guy at side of stage also helps remind us that we are in a studio. The pre-recored filmed segments work beautifully including cute cliched opening and closing credits and some very silly ads, most of which are hilarious. There was a great moment where the actors improvised around a prop that played up which made a very funny potential ‘blooper reel’ moment.

The performers are all brilliantly cast and throw themselves into their two-part roles which include the actors behind the scenes as well as the on camera characters. Russell Fletcher as the has been star and patriarch Willy Loman is amusingly overbearing and annoying (in both characters) with a catchphrase and a relationship with his downtrodden wife Linda, played with a twinkle by Lana Schwarcz, that is reminiscent of The Honeymooners. Off camera Lana’s obnoxious animal rights actress character create’s more drama and fireworks with him than on. Jimmy James Eaton is a surprise standout as favourite son Biff (and manages to squeeze in one of his trademark funny raps) and Danny McGinlay has fun playing his little brother Happy as well as the actor who, thanks to Danny’s previous festival show is a drunken Ukranian. We get to see Director Damian Callinan on stage playing the wacky neighbour Charley and Denis Manahan does a fabulous job playing various important characters. Other actors who pop in for short cameos are Lucy Horan, Katharine Burke and Chris Masters Mah. There are some rough edges in the timing of dialogue but these will be improved as the run progresses.

Like Willy Loman’s hazy memories there is a very vague sense of the period this is set in, which actually works well, it mostly feels like 1949, then a modern reference turns up or a modern product placement, like an anachronism you might notice in MASH or Happy Days, shows that seemed to gradually forget which period they were set in. There are many clever digs at sitcoms, their clichés and wacky situations that are part of giving the audience a sense of the history of this long running successful sitcom at the same time echoing Willy Loman being haunted by his past.

My only issue with the production (apart from the line ‘A man is not a piece of fruit’ being absent which is a bit like doing Hamlet without ‘To Be or Not To Be’) was that the backstage shenanigans, though fun, didn’t really affect the TV performance and lacked focus and the comedic tension that would have come out of a situation such as the cast finding out the show is axed or one of the cast is leaving or this being the final episode which would have reflected the sense of doom and hidden secrets exposed in the play.

Death of a Salesman is about dysfunctional families, false fronts and the rot at the core of The American Dream so it fits a sitcom scenario perfectly. You may not know the play but you will get a sense of it from the play’s dialogue and a lot of laughs that come from clever zingers, groaners and sending up sitcoms. The Loman Empire – The Sitcom – An unauthorised satire of Death of a Salesman (note this is a recent name change) is the sort of creative, intelligently put together performance that makes Melbourne Fringe so wonderful and will no doubt be one of the highlights of 2014.

Loman Empire: The Sitcom An unauthorised satire of Death of a Salesman is on at the Northcote Town Hall at 8:15pm until September 28.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/loman-empire-the-sitcom-an-unauthorised-satire-of-death-of-a-salesman/

Jason Geary & Jimmy James Eaton : Sketch-ageddon

By Elyce Phillips

There’s aliens, orphans and even a little magic – Sketch-ageddon is an action-packed hour of doom and sketch comedy. Jason Geary and Jimmy James Eaton have teamed up once again, following the success of last year’s Sketchual Healing, and if their show’s opening music is anything to go by, they still have a large quantity of sketch-related puns in supply.

Eaton and Geary have a wonderful comedic relationship and are both well-practiced at playing a wide variety of characters. The sketches are really well-balanced. There are insanely high-energy moments, like Geary’s bursts of questionable magic. There are comparatively quiet moments of domestic ridiculousness, where we witness the relationship between an alien overlord and his mother. A short mimed tale about two brothers growing up was surprisingly touching. All of the sketches flow beautifully thanks to the story of destruction weaved throughout.

Eaton and Geary accomplish a lot with minimal fuss. Their use of props is sparse, setting up most of their scenes with nothing more than a bit of music. This keeps the show fast-paced and very physical. The whole thing is super slick. Ben Russell has done a great job as director, helping to create a show that feels incredibly natural, but is tightly composed.

The seemingly endless energy of Eaton and Geary is really impressive, especially considering that both of these guys have multiple shows this year – Festival legend has it that Eaton is in seven different shows, which deserves some sort of trophy or finely-laminated certificate if it’s true. They both get a chance to show-off the full gamut of their talents. There’s singing, dancing and impressions. Geary’s Christopher Walken is on-point, and Eaton’s John Travolta is hilarious, baffling and weirdly time-specific.

The only quibbles on the night were venue-related, rather than any fault with the performance itself. The show got started 10 minutes late, meaning there was a trickle of audience members scrambling to get out towards the end, presumably to make it to their next act. It was an unwelcome distraction from an otherwise brilliant finale. Hopefully this was due to an off night and isn’t indicative of the run in general – but maybe leave some room between shows, just in case.

Sketch-ageddon is an epic tale of death and destruction, told in bite-sized nuggets of hilarity. Eaton and Geary are a perfect comedy pairing and not something to be missed.

Sketch-ageddon is on at the Imperial Hotel until April 20
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/sketch-ageddon-jason-geary-jimmy-james-eaton

5 Good Reasons to see Victoria Healy Presents We ♥ Comedy

5 Good Reasons to see Victoria Healy Presents We ♥ Comedy:

1.
The Variety

Each night three 15 minute spots of impro, stand up and sketch comedy.
2. 
The Big Names

Jimmy James Eaton, Claire Hooper, Luke McGregor, Girls Interrupted, Lessons With Luis, Geraldine Hickey, Simon Keck plus loads more!
3.
The Cheap Tix

Only $13 presale. $10 on the door
4.
The Hostess

Oh stop it guys….shucks.
5.
The Venue

The Imperial is the home of comedy at Melbourne Fringe. Cheap drinks for any ticket holders and participants.

Cheap Drinks? Surely you only need ONE good reason!  This should be a great way to get a taste of some really fabulous performers who are doing Melbourne Fringe this year and a lovely way to cap off a night at the Fringe.

We ♥ Comedy is on at The Imperial at 10.15 Tue-Thurs

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/victoria-healy-presents-we-comedy/