Impro Melbourne – Theatresports

By Elyce Phillips 

Impro Melbourne’s Theatresports is an old standby of the Melbourne comedy calendar, attracting many of our best improv comedians over the years. It’s impossible to predict what you will see in any given performance and it’s usually a solid bet for an entertaining night out but this year it seems to have changed direction, taking on a more family-friendly guise.

The evening is divided into three sections: free play, the Danish round – in which the audience judges the scenes, and the usual competitive round, where points are decided by two official judges and one audience ring-in. Teams compete over the course of the season, until a winner is decided at the Grand Final in November.

All the players were accomplished improvisers, working well together to keep scenes moving. Rik Brown was a stand-out, consistently providing laughs and holding things together. Jamie Cerda and Katherine Weaver’s two-person team Para Dos was gloriously chaotic. Their scenes often had little to do with their prompts, but were hilarious none the less. Musical improviser Dan did a wonderful job of scoring the night.

It is obvious throughout that this year’s Theatresports is aiming itself squarely at young families, which seems an odd choice for a Sunday night show. Surely the kiddies should be getting tucked into bed, ready for school the next day. Host Jenny Lovell’s performance had the tone of a kindly schoolteacher, praising us for being a good audience, and distributing hard candy at various intervals. She did a great job of keeping the energy up and the kids in the audience were loving it.

To keep things on track and out of the gutter, there were a couple of tools at the judges’ disposal – a horn can be honked to end a scene that isn’t working for whatever reason, and a penalty basket can be placed on the head of any player that strays into crude and obscene territory, locking them out of the next game to be played. Though the basket wasn’t used, there were a few scenes brought to an untimely end by the horn for reasons of taste.

At times, the censoring felt arbitrary. A lengthy scene entirely about purchasing condoms was fine. Another in which a nude Satan seduced a door-to-door bible salesman was good to go. However, once the judges were in charge, a single swear word could bring a scene to a screeching halt. One game of ‘second chance’ that looked to be really promising was ended in under a minute due to the use of an unsavoury word. The process was jarring, and left me resenting the judges – and not in the fun pantomime booing way that Lovell was promoting. It was unclear whether the players were fully aware of the restrictions on themes and languages beforehand, or if they were simply forgetting and slipping up. The result was a show with a confused tone – a little too adult to be totally family-friendly, but too sanitized to allow the players to really let loose.

Impro Melbourne’s Theatresports is perhaps best for families with young teens – kid-friendly provided you don’t mind your little ones hearing the odd bit of salty language or an impromptu lesson on the magic of birth. It’s a good place to introduce them to improvised comedy, and the talented performers will ensure you have a few laughs yourself.

Impro Melbourne – Theatresports is on Sundays at 7:30 at The Space in Prahan. The Grand Final will be held on November 29 at the Kalide Theatre at RMIT. For tickets and info, go to:

5 Good Reasons To See DeAnne Smith, Tilly & Flora and Steen Raskopoulos

5 Good Reasons to see DeAnne Smith: Let’s Do This

1. The show is super fun. In fact, one reviewer called it “fiercely fun” and another said that it was “One of the oddest but most invigorating experiences you’ll have at a comedy gig.” That sounds intriguing and good, right?

2. People love my comedy. You’re people. Therefore, you will love my comedy.

3. I’ll totally high five you if you want me to. If you’re having a bad day, sometimes all it takes is a vigorous high five to turn it around.

4. I’m codependent. For real. I can read the vibe of a room so accurately it’s as though I have psychic powers, and I will do everything I possibly can to make sure you’re having a good time. I’m not happy until you’re happy. I want to be your dancing monkey. This quality is shit for romantic relationships and stuff, but in terms of stand up comedy, it’s a super power.

5. I only gave 4 reasons, which just goes to show you that I’m a rebel, man. I’m so far outside the box, I can’t even see the box from where I am. It’s like a small dot to me. A small, dumb dot.

DeAnne will be performing at the Melb Town Hall – Cloak Room


5 Good Reasons to see In the Parlour with Tilly & Flora
For your consideration:

1. It’s set in the 1850s when Steam Engines were the next big thing!

2. This is the perfect show to bring your Mum or your Nan along to. They’ll love the literary references and you’ll love the historical pass-agg hilarity.

3. These ladies won the People’s Choice Award in the Short & Sweet Theatre Festival last year.

4. Each show features Tilly & Flora plus a different guest improviser….so you could go two nights in a row and get a completely different show!

5. If you like it then you better put a bonnet on it!

Tilly & Flora will be taking guests at Comedy on Collins


Five Good Reasons to see Steen Raskopoulos – Bruce SpringSTEEN LIVE IN CONCERT!

1. His is the only one man sketch show in the festival and is guaranteed to be something you’ve never seen before.

2. It sold out its entire run during the Sydney Fringe Festival and return seasons (so people either liked it or needed to be sheltered in from the cold during those specific days and times).

3. If you want to see one man play 100 characters in one hour, then… you’d probably go elsewhere actually. But this show has 16 characters in one hour, which is still pretty good.

4. It will make you feel happy, sad, confused, hungry, uplifted, angry and then happy again.

5. You will have a chance of winning $1,000,000*

Steen Raskopoulos will be performing at The Portland Hotel in the Gold Room