Comedy Festival: Impro Melbourne – Grand Theft Impro

The Impro Melbourne crew have been delighting audiences with their antics since 1996. For 2 decades they have performed and taught nationally and internationally, including in Asia, Europe, the Americas and South Africa. They now bring to Melbourne – for the first time – ‘Grand Theft Impro’ a 55-minute rollercoaster ride of spontaneous, unscripted, short sketches.

THE PLAYERS: The sold out show I attended on April 2nd starred 4 of the Impro Melbourne regulars and 2 special guests (both of whom have their own solo shows at this year’s festival). All performers displayed exceptional wit and the high level comedic bravery that we’ve come to expect from this talented troupe. I developed a particular fondness for the wild looking dude with the highly animated face and crazy hair. What a joy to watch on stage!

THE STRUCTURE: 10 titles are taken from the audience. The players deliver a series of sketches that support the titles. At the end of each 3-4 minute sketch, the audience votes with a thumbs-up ‘Complete’ or a thumbs-down ‘Fail’. If the players fail – off they go again – same title – new plot – fresh shenanigans.

THE AUDIENCE: From the titles shouted out, I feel confident in saying that a number of the audience members appeared to be die-hard improv fans. Their splendid suggestions included: ‘Everyone Loves Crayons’, ‘Attack of the Killer Olive’, ‘Moonshine Mansion’, and ‘I love the Dentist’.

THE SHOW: Comedic chaos ensued. Wonderfully ridiculous characters came and went – and sometimes came back again – like the Russian thug whose face had been kicked by a goat.

We saw the stage debut of Chekov’s ‘The Electric Seagull’, and the 1930s musical ‘The Piano Accordion Soldier’. The show brought us talking crayons, singing mountains, loveable monsters, and plenty of laughs.

There were a few moments where I was unsure what was exactly going on, but I remained amused. What I truly love about improvised theatre is the grace with which the players fail. They flop with a smile and a laugh, and simply carry on.

Due to a handful of title repeats – we only got through 8 of the 10 sketches. I was devastated that I would never see ‘Speed-dating Elves’ or ‘What’s That Smell?’! But that’s the nature of improv – you never know what you’re going to get. Who knows what wild adventures the next show deliver.

-Anna E.
Anna E. is a Melburnian bike-rider, coffee-drinker, and dog-lover who is always up for trying new experiences. You might find her balancing on a slackline, training for a triathlon, or building a terrarium.

Grand Theft Impro has four shows left on the 8-9 and 15-16 April. I’d suggest you get in quick as there are only 4 show left on April 8, 9, 15, 16.  

Check out our guide to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for more great shows.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Impro Melbourne.