Improv is notoriously one of the hardest forms of comedy to do well, which is odd when you think that we spend a goodly portion of our lives just talking off the top of our heads. Maybe it’s the expectation to be funny? The fact that you have no control AT ALL, and have to say, “yes, and…” to everything? It’s therefore incredible that a group would decided to even further complicate the process, and yet, Snort With Friends does just that.
Each night, a series of guest comedians – most of whom seem to have at least a passing familiarity with improv, thank god – are invited to perform short sets based on audience suggested words. Sometimes – and you can see it in their eyes – they get very lucky and it can be linked to material they already have. More often than not, however, what follows is a short stream of consciousness that will hopefully be funny.
Following these sets, the troupe – a vast ensemble of New Zealand’s best Rose Matafeo, Guy Montgomery, Laura Daniel, Eli Matthewson, Alice Snedden, Nic Sampson, Donna Brookbanks, Chris Parker, Tom Sainsbury, Brynley Stent, Kura Forrester, Rhiannon McCall, Hamish Parkinson, Joseph Moore and Eddy Dever – then act out scenes that seemed to be at least ten to fifteen minutes long, based upon them, playing a variety of characters. What follows is organic, authentic chaos that is, to the credit of the cast, frequently very funny.
Of course, at times there is a reliance on stereotypical, somewhat one dimensional authority figures, like doctors, or police officers, but given that these are short(ish), completely unprepared scenes, it’s reasonable that they would want to establish characters and their motivations as quickly as possible, and exercise as much control as they can. They’re also acted well, so no harm done.
Snort is on at 11pm Thursday to Sunday at the Melbourne Town Hall as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are available via the MICF website.