Can you think on your feet? Not me. It’s never been one of my talents. I’m the girl you want in your corner 10 minutes after an emergency, when there’s been plenty of time to weigh up all the options and formulate a plan! I come up with some of THE best and funniest one-liners…on the way home from the party. But this is not the case for the brave performers of ImproMafia, who take to the pubs, clubs and theatres of Brisbane each week to bring the funny, or the pathos, or the country and western music as the case may be, WITH NO SCRIPT.
We caught ImproMafia at Brisbane’s Powerhouse, where they offer free laughs with your end of the week wine from 6pm on the last Friday of the month. Start the weekend with a smile. And did I mention, free?
It’s always a great night out when you see live comedy but the tense randomness of a gang of performers who are making it up as they go brings an especially hilarious brand of camaraderie to the room. Next time you’re in a crisis situation, forget your 000. What you need is an improvisational comedian!
Comedy theatre – as live as it gets!
‘Improv’ or ‘impro’ (depending who you are, and where you are) has been around for as long as theatre, in one form or another. It has a staggered history, however, as a theatre genre in its own right, finding its way into drama schools and cabaret clubs during the first half of the 20th century. Even if you’re not a live comedy devotee, you may have come across it via TV shows like Thank God You’re Here or Whose Line Is It Anyway? In short, this is interactive theatre where performers create a story based on prompts from the audience rather than a traditional script. A successful show relies on lightening fast creativity and the ability to play around with literary, theatrical and musical genres. The competitive game version of the art, Theatresports, was a big part of my high school drama class! The ImproMafia gang are pros, but even as a rank amateur I could see its worth in sharpening the mind and popping me right out of my quiet little comfort zone. Try it at home, kids, if you’re hard enough!
Free laughs for your Friday night
ImproMafia do a bunch of different kinds of shows each week, but the Friday night funnies are in the Theatresports tradition, where a troupe of regular performers take suggestions from the audience and weave them into their web of onstage mayhem. Games swing between genius and absurdity; picture a schlock horror film performed as an opera, or a rock ballad created on the spot about an unsuspecting punter in the front row.
Actors might find themselves doing a full sketch in slow motion, or moving while another team member narrates the action, or starting each line using a particular letter of the alphabet. It looks like chaos, although the rules of each game are in fact strictly enforced!
And a special mention has to go to the musical accompanist who underpins the whole palaver with mood music and genre jumps taking queues on the fly from the actors. Did I mention, NO SCRIPT?
The ImproMafia team has a busy dance card it seems, including workshops for schools and corporate training, interstate and international competitive Theatresports series, festivals and local comedy club shows. They even do full length plays that mix it up with a predetermined narrative structure alongside audience prompts; they recently got their sleuthing on murder mystery style with Agatha Holmes, for example, and you can check out Grimm, their nod to fractured fairy tales, this December.
If you’re looking for a date night with a difference, or indeed if you want to push yourself waaaay out of your comfort zone and learn a little more about spontaneous creativity, visit the ImproMafia website. Or just rock up to the Powerhouse like we did!
This is not sponsored by the way, we just had fun!