The Victorian Avant-garde Artists Society is here to deliver a piece of cutting-edge theatre for the masses. The twist? It’s all to be improvised on the night with the help of a suggestion from the audience. Like all improvised performances, every show is utterly unique and guaranteed to give you something you’ve never seen before.
The performance starts with an introduction from each member of the group which, while interesting and amusing at times, feels a little unnecessary as it gives nothing to the overall construct of the show. Considering also that there are six members of the group it does feel a little drawn out and tiresome at the beginning. Also, it feels quite heavily rehearsed, which in most shows would be fine but not something that you’re quite expecting when something promises completely improvised material.
The beauty of improv performances is that all shows will be unique; you could go every night and see something different each time. This performance was a theatre piece centered around a title suggested by an audience members, “Percolator, I need a coffee.” Unlike most improv acts that feature numerous sketches, this one instead was a long play with different acts. At the beginning of each the cast members would spend time setting the scene, which again, while amusing at times, felt drawn out and a little unnecessary.
The act in its entirety is riddled with genuine funny moments; both clearly rehearsed ones and those that are improvised. All performers contribute to the piece in equal measure – jumping in to compliment actions from their fellow performers and at times, saving the scene during a few awkward moments of silence. However, the show from the beginning feels as though it is building up to something that never quite comes – the audience offers numerous chuckles and giggles throughout but a hearty laugh never quite occurs.
The Victorian Avant-garde Artists Society is definitely a change from the stock standard sort of act that you’ll see around the comedy festival and worth going to see if you like your shows with a touch of quirkiness to it.
The Victorian Avant-garde Artists Society is showing March 27th – 8th April at Tasma Terrace as part of 2018 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets can be purchased here.