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/