Review By Tatum Stafford
There’s a palpable atmosphere before each Impromptunes performance starts. As we were ushered into one of Fringe World Perth’s most atmospheric venues, the Lotterywest De Parel Spiegeltent, there was a distinct hum and buzz amongst audience members – mainly to the effect of, “What title are you going to yell?"
The premise of Impromptunes may seem simple. A troupe of five Melbourne-based improvisers, singers and dancers (along with one skilled accompanist on piano) ask the audience to name the title of the musical they’d like to see that night. This is where the magic happens – as it dawns on the crowd that this is the first, last and only time they’ll see the chosen show title performed. Everything from storylines, characters, songs, dances, overtures and entr’actes are completely improvised and perfectly fit into the show’s one hour time slot.
On their opening performance on Friday night, a confident audience member yelled ‘A Flea’s Decision’ – and so the show for the night was born. Emmet Nichols, the troupe’s director, played host for the first portion of the evening with immediate infectious energy. After selecting this intriguing title, Hayden Dun, accompanist for this performance, improvised a lively, intricate overture and the show’s plot was set to begin.
Amberly Cull and Morgan Phillips dove right in as two fleas, setting the tone for a no-holds-barred approach that the rest of the cast continued with commitment – resulting in countless laughs and bouts of applause from the enamoured audience. Brenna Glazebrook and Josh Burton were irresistibly funny as dog and mother duo, and Emmet’s portrayal as a romantic counterpart to Brenna was quirkily charming.
There’s a sense of awe from the crowd at every Impromptunes show I’ve seen during Fringe over the past few years. There’s an immediate novelty aspect once the fictional characters first interact – but as these seasoned performers break into song, there’s a tangible switch in the audience’s reactions as they realise how hard these actors are working to create narratives that are not only logical, but entertaining. Not to mention the occasional pun that is thrown in for equal measure – ‘flea’ and ‘flee’ being particular highlights for this performance!
After such an entertaining night at the show’s first Fringe performance for this season, it’s clear why they’re a staple on Perth’s Fringe calendar. Do what you can to secure yourself a ticket – as this year’s limited run is not to be missed.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.