Snort With Friends

By Elyce Phillips

Snort are a bunch of up-and-coming New Zealand comedians, banding together to do some great longform improv. With a rotating cast of performers and guest monologists every night, no two shows will be the same. I caught a performance where the cast included Rose Matafeo, Guy Montgomery, Donna Brookbanks, Alice Snedden, Tom Sainsbury and Brynley Stent.

With Friends runs the Armando improv format. One person will deliver a monologue prompted by a word provided by the audience, and then the team will perform scenes based on that monologue. On the evening I attended, there was a monologue from Snort member Alice Snedden, as well as from special guests Aaron Chen and Tom Walker. The best part of the stories is seeing how each performer interprets their prompt. “Kookaburra” led to a story about cricket gear, “pickle” to an in-depth description of a meal you can buy in Marrickville, and “abyss” to some bad wrestling gimmicks.

The Snort crew have a great rapport and play fast and loose with the format. Some of the best moments in the night came from scenes left to run a bit too long, confusing interactions and cast members throwing each other under the bus in general. This is clearly a group that is comfortable enough playing together that they know they can test each other’s limits. Stent was a standout as a maid/pickle saleswoman/camel saleswoman with an unplaceable broad accent. Sainsbury and Brookbanks were fantastic as a couple on the run after having a Christmas that was a little too “edgy”. Snort have hit a sweet spot with their improv – silly but not out-of-control, unpredictable yet skilful.

Snort With Friends is a wonderful hour of late-night mayhem and is a must-see for improv fans.

Snort With Friends is on at the Victoria Hotel Acacia Room until April 22