Impromptunes’ 400th – Theatre Review

Since 2013, Impromptunes have been doing the unthinkable by improvising an entire hilarious musical show from start to finish.

Simply based on a title suggestion from the audience, the music, dialogue, dance routines and storyline are completely made up on the night. When you see any Impromptunes performance, know that you are watching it for the very first and last time.

The September 1st show was a special one indeed. Not only are the talented Impromptunes troupe celebrating their tenth anniversary but this was their 400th show! I was lucky enough to be able to attend and it was a fun filled night of celebration, appreciation, and improvisation.

I’ve always been a fan of improv. It seems to be one of the first exercises an actor must learn but few seem to make a career out of it. For years, I watched the UK and US versions of comedy series ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ amazed at the talents of comedians with the ability to just pluck an idea out of thin air and for it to successfully be hilarious.

The full troupe of Impromptunes consists of over 20 different amazing and diverse performers. But for our special night, we were treated to the genius of 6 in particular. Introducing the show was Impromptunes creator and company director Emmet Nichols. His affable nature and charisma introduced us to the night and the magic we were about to see. Although when it comes to the show itself, there is no true “star” and the rest of the team each get their moments to shine. Alexia Brinsley and Brenna Glazebrook perform multiple roles, and Brenton Gardiner, Jason Why and Morgan Phillips added to the fun, who also produce the Impromptunes podcast (a weekly 30-minute improvised musical for those on the go).

Regular Impromptunes performances are normally an hour-long show, but for us it was different as we were treated to a 2-hour long night of multiple mini games, audience participation and all-round fun. Awards were given out in recognition of those who had supported the troupe over the last 10 years. A very special tailor-made song was improvised for a lucky audience member. We were even treated to a preview of their upcoming Melbourne Fringe Festival show with a segment called Fart-om of the Opera. The object of which being for an audience member to interrupt the performers with… well it’s right there in the title, isn’t it?

Soon it was on to the main musical performance. For our pleasure, the show of the night was the fittingly titled ‘400 Hot Tamales’, a tale of love, greed, vehicular homicide, external hearts, taco trucks and leprechaun insurance! By this point we’d already seen what chemistry the performers have (and would’ve needed for 399 other shows). However, it really is something to behold how well the members of the troupe play off each other.

Being able to dive into an unplanned skit with musical cues, the crew made something beautiful. With storylines, plot twists, character arcs and callback gags being worked into this bonkers musical. It was just as entertaining when something went wrong as when it all went right. The thespians being able to roll with whatever the night threw at them!

The musicians of the night accompanying Impromptunes worked excellently and didn’t miss a beat. The songs were all incredibly catchy despite their improvised nature and att the end of the show, I found myself leaving the Alex Theatre humming the lyrics and tunes which were plucked out of the ether mere minutes earlier.

Impromptunes has a big future ahead of it. With a whopping five seasons planned, a residency at Alex Theatre, and a return to Edinburgh Fringe on the cards. Not to mention their upcoming Melbourne Fringe shows in October including the lewd and crude ‘Impromptunes – Badprov’, the best part about this act is that even if you’ve seen an Impromptunes musical before, you’ll see something completely different the following night. Impromptunes deserve all the accolades in the world for 400 incredible shows and here’s to 400 more!

Impromptunes have multiple planned festival shows ahead so for information and ticketing, visit:

Photography supplied.

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