By Elyce Phillips

The concept behind Impromptunes sounds simple enough – the audience suggests the title of a brand-new musical and the performers create it before your very eyes. Actually inventing a new musical every night is a far more complex matter, however, the cast of Impromptunes make it look like the easiest thing in the world. Using their considerable musical talent, they work together to produce original works that are funny and full of heart.

Impromptunes features a rotating cast from a whole lot of different improv groups around town. On the evening I attended, the team consisted of Cameron Neill, Emmet Nichols, Louisa Fitzhardinge, Hollie James, Gill Cosgriff, Greg Lavell and Amberly Cull. The suggested title from the audience was ‘Purple Sneakers’, which led to the creation of a musical crime caper.

The musical told the story of the ‘Purple Sneakers Gang’ – an engaged couple who were planning to rob a bank – and a quartet of cops attempting to crack the case. Not only was the story the team created absolutely hilarious, there were even few moments that proved to be quite touching. The burgeoning romance between the two rookie police officers was adorable. The highlight of the show was the performance of ‘Life is a Panini’ – a wonderfully funny lament sung by Cameron Neill after his fiancé and mother land in prison.

The team is quick-witted and all respond well to cues from their fellow players. Gill Cosgriff was a stand-out as the no-nonsense mother who was somehow married to Michael Douglas. The show was remarkably cohesive for something made up on the fly. Sure, there was the odd jumble up of names or logical inconsistency, but as a whole, the story made sense and was satisfying. Lucy O’Brien was fabulous on the keys as the musical improviser for the evening. Her score for the story was spot-on.

Impromptunes is a great piece of musical theatre performed by some very talented young improvisers. With a different crew and all-new show every night, you can’t be sure what to expect, but you can be certain it’s going to be an enjoyable night out.
Impromptunes is on in The Portland Room at The Portland Hotel until October 6.