Improv – as I learned when I tried my hand at in high school – is notoriously hard to do well. So I can only begin to imagine the near impossibility of constructing an hour long, completely improvised musical, with a total of five performers, a pianist, and an expansive cast of puppets, based entirely on a title suggested by a member of the audience. I say “near impossibility”, because that is exactly what Impromptunes‘ show for the Melbourne Fringe, “Puppets! The Musical” has been doing that every night. And the audience love it.
Boasting a different show every night, and a rotating cast of some of Australia’s finest comedic improv scene and musical theatre players (I saw Patrick Durnan Silva, Louisa Fitzhardinge, Hollie James, Ronald Lewis, and Natasha York, with Rainer Pollard at the piano), I can only really give you a taste of what to expect. In Don’t Shake Hands with a Chainsaw, legacy logger Sam battles the inevitable advance of technology in a desperate attempt to save his job and win the heart of Betty Sue. Against him stand a money-hungry Tree Farm Boss and his cronies, including the sleazy Fernando, a Spanish womanize who always gets what he wants. Haunted by his father’s instance he continue the family legacy – which is also difficult because he doesn’t yet have kids – how can Sam make his six trees spread further than the 15,000 (and one!) of the trees of the Tree Smasher 5,000 (which, incidentally, is called that because it costs $5,000)? And will he get the girl?
Can I take a moment to remind you that this is a ONE HOUR IMPROVISED MUSICAL. Complicated plots that retain a lighthearted, comedic touch, and a huge variety of son in different styles that – if you’ll pardon the pun – hit the right note every time requires incredible performers with an inate sense of rythym and an almost psychic ability to see what the rest of the cast are working towards. There was also the Triangle of Power, an instrument given to a member of the audience that could drastically change the direction of the plot at any given moment, and – while not giving anything away – I can say that it was incorporated in a hilarious and completely unpredicatable way.
The Butterfly Club has a longstand relationship with Impromptunes, and once again the piano bar plays a magnificent host. Get in early for a pre-show drink, or stick around late into the night enjoy one of their fabulous cocktail selections and unique decore.
Impromptune presents “Puppets! The Musical” has only five shows left, so get in soon!
Show remaining are Wednesday the 30th – Sunday the 4th, and are all at 7pm.
Tickets can be booked online, or purchased at the door (Prices run at $28 Full, $25 for Concession, Members, and PP for groups of 6+). Members also recieve a dollar off drinks at the bar, and other exclusive offers.