Review by James Mukheibir
Theatresports is an absolute staple of the Australian comedy scene and takes centre stage as the closing show of the Sydney Comedy festival each year. 2022 is no different and after a hard few years of live comedy, it was a true joy to watch juggernauts of the improv game take to the stage again in a celebration of off-the-cuff silliness.
For the uninitiated, Theatresports is set up as a series of games with varying rules and structures, where the players have no idea what prompt they will get. They then get 3 minutes to play out a completely improvised scene within the provided parameters – for example Death in a Minute asks players to step into a seemingly harmless scene and find a natural way for someone to die. As one can imagine, this leads to all sorts of unfiltered and bizarre nonsense as the comedians create genius and ridiculous scenarios on the spot. The packed Enmore Theatre was in stitches for most of the 90-minute run time, with the two to three-minute limit for each scene keeping the energy high throughout the show.
The show starred some Australian comedy royalty and some up and comers, who all brought bucket-loads of energy to the Enmore stage. The show was hosted by Adam Spencer and Jeromaia Detto, and cast included David Callan, Ewan Campbell, Kate Coates, Daniel Cordeaux, Sarah Gaul, Rob Johnson, John Knowles, Lisa Ricketts, Linette Voller, Rebecca DeUnamuno, Amanda Buckley, Jeff Mesina and Kate Wilkins. There was fabulous chemistry between all of the cast members as they embraced each bizarre offer and ran with every crazy idea that came up. It would be easy for stronger personalities to take control of a scene but for the most part, these veterans of the improv game were flowing, and fluid and it led to some fantastic moments of spontaneous hilarity.
My performer of the night goes to one of the younger cast members, Kate Wilkins, who lit up the stage and elevated every scene she was in. While she was not on the original bill for the show, she was one of the most comfortable performers on the stage, and I hope to see her in future comedy shows in the future.
A special shout out must go to Benny Davis, an immensely talented and irreplaceable staple of theatresports shows, who provides completely improvised backing tracks to all of the scenes. He is an absolute whizz behind his keyboard, building atmosphere around whatever weird and wonderful direction the actors go.
From a Shakespeare about a nefarious corgi, a song about chocolate, trying to fix a tractor with someone else’s hands to the Moment of the Match where an 11-year-old tennis player brought down the Berlin Wall, it was all round a wonderful show of comedy to wrap up the 2022 Festival. Theatresports happens throughout the year with the Cranston Cup, School Competition and Celebrity Theatresports so be sure to keep an eye out for the next one to get your recommended dose of absurd laughs.