1. Sketch topics include: Love! Housefires! Corn! Bats! And many more.
2. This gender-balanced sketch group is made of four of Melbourne’s MOST improv comedians and performers. That’s right. We know what we said.
3. Learn exactly how to please our glorious robot overlords.
4. As we hurtle toward the advent of artificial intelligence surpassing the sum of human achievement, what else is there to do but laugh?
5. Help us get Luke’s ex-wife back.
ROBOTS ROBOTS ROBOTS is on at The Lithuanian Club
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 Hotel –http://www.hoohaamelbourne.com.au/
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:
by Lisa Clark
Sophie Kneebone performs a sketch show with a difference, more of a beautifully drawn character study in the style of Kate McLennan. You can see a little Chris Lilley influence here too but less strident and cruel.There are a lot of brash wacky sketch shows that are more miss than hit and it can be a chore waiting for a good skit. Braveface is a more thoughtful kind of sketch show, that still illicits plenty of laughter but also eventually forms a play. Most of the sketches are funny in themselves and seem to stand alone, but by the end you realise that all of the characters are connected by more than their brave face.
A chair and lace clothed side table with teapot and cup, then notably, a parrot’s perch and an artist’s easel. The tiny stage is simply set as the sitting room of the main character Linda who we eventually learn is a career coach at a high school. She is at the centre of the story linking the characters but there are many deeper connections that are gradually pieced together like a quilt Linda might’ve made. Her crafty talents are also some of the comedy highlights of the show.
Other characters we meet include an Irish chaplain who’s not as groovy as he thinks he is, a psychic with funny made up tarot cards, a milk bar lady and a smartarse schoolboy. Only the school boy, though done well and completely believable (Sophie works in a school after all), seemed a bit clichéd, but maybe this is mostly Chris Lilley’s fault and I always feel a little uncomfortable when middle class comedians parody working class kids. The laughs though, are plenty and Sophie never comes across as derisive or mean to the people she has created, no matter their follies or delusions.
Sophie Kneebone, who has no doubt honed her character skills as part of The Big Hoo-Haa, is a remarkably fine actress who pulls off all her characters with warmth, subtlety and good comic timing. The show has also clearly benefited from direction by Lee Naimo as the pace and flow work very well. There is a fine use of music throughout, a wonderfully lame rap and some rather less successful interpretive dance where I couldn’t quite work out what it was interpreting. So, not all the sketches work, but the majority that do are stunning, very funny, sweet, poignant and occasionally moving. This is a gorgeous play at Melbourne Fringe that you can definitely take your mum to.
Sophie Kneebone is performing Braveface at The Portland til Sunday 29th Sept