REVIEW: Dinner With Friends at the Smug Fig

by Vicky Wanless


Improv who doesn’t love Improv!!


There is something so exciting and fun about watching a show where the actors don’t even know what is coming next, so the audience gets to go on the ride with them.


Dinner With Friends is a great little concept where we have four tables with a pair of talented actors at each one ready to take on the audiences suggestions of characters, places etc. Made up from members of The Big Fork Theatre, home of Brisbane’s Improvisation and Sketch Comedy.


We are introduced to the night by our “head waiter” who informs us that the actors will be in for a culinary treat. Actually, no, he has bought cheap food from Aldi, lol, and so it begins.


The first table is 2 brothers who were brought up in different countries. One from Slovakia (because Souvalaki) who are having a meal together and discussing Australia and the homeland of…..Souvalaki 😊


Playing up on the differences between one war torn land and the other land of the Shelia is very funny and a great way to start off the show. After Mr. “Souvalaki” tries rice we get the line of the night “it dances on my tongue like fairies”. Already the audience is in fits of laughter, this is what good improv is all about.


The second table is a male/female relationship that has broken up over a difference of sports. There were some gold moments from the female cast member who just can’t deal with the break up so questions, what is the solution?! Drinking wine after wine to dull the pain! But the chemistry between these two actors wasn’t the same as the first couple, so although there were some funny moments I didn’t get those big belly laughs that you want to have.


At the third table, we have a mother and her stripper son, although she doesn’t know he strips and he tries to convey this knowledge without actually saying “I’m a stripper”. Here comes the second line of the night, “This is me…showing people who I am…….like I do for money” ensue hearty guffaws coming from my mouth.


Improv is such a visual comedic feast that the saying “you needed to be there” rings truer than ever to get the full impact of how funny it can be.


On the fourth table we have a father and daughter sitting in a cave whilst the world has been destroyed by an apocalypse. (side note: the location was noted as 'cave' but was never used in the skit only the fact of the apocalypse, bit of a lost opportunity to go further with it), but this is a minor thing and both actors played off well with each other. Can I have a submarine licence please! Private audience joke 😉


In between each table break the other 6 actors would get up and just improvise together. One of the funniest segments was the “Hips Don’t Lie” where two detectives had a suspect in custody and would see if he was telling the truth or not. How did they do this you ask, by hooking the hips up to (think lie detector but with a twist lol), the machine and see what the hips said. The physical comedy especially by the suspect was done really well.


On a slight downside note, the ladies of the group were too quiet. The boys were throwing themselves in thick and fast and really stealing the show and I kept thinking COME ON GIRLS! Tag and get in there and go crazy but it didn’t happen. I wanted to see more mixed characters from my lovely female sisters which would have rounded out the group more.


But I commend anyone who gets up and does Improv it’s a lot harder than it looks with no script to anchor you down, so a big well done to all the members.


The hour running time was a bit short. It was over and done in a blink of an eye and I wanted more which is a compliment because I was entertained and hadn’t laughed like that in a while.


The Smug Fig had a nice little set up for the actors to perform in. The negative about holding the show here though was one, that the chairs were very uncomfortable and I had to keep moving to try and find a spot where I wasn’t feeling it. The second was that because the venue is right on a road there was a bit of noise from cars and at one stage people outside were very loud which distracted a bit from the action happening.


The Big Fork does classes as well as shows around Brisbane so I would recommend if you want a good night out, go catch one of their shows or even if you dare try a class.

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.

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