Impromptunes: The Completely Improvised Musical {Melbourne International Comedy Festival} – Comedy Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

For lovers of musical theatre and comedy, meet Impromptunes: The Completely Improvised Musical from Australia’s leading team of singing comedians.

The Impromptunes troupe made their debut back in 2013 and have since toured nationally and internationally, performing at Perth Fringe World, Adelaide Fringe, Bondi Festival and Edinburgh Fringe. In 2021, they make their much-anticipated return to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival stage for a packed roster of shows across the festival’s 2-week run.

Feeling a little confused about how an improv musical works? Here’s the breakdown:

Each Impromptunes show features a small selection of the troupe’s talented cast who put on a 60-minute musical with nothing but their wits and an audience suggestion. Everything from the music, characters, plot and choreography (yes, there’s choreography!) is improvised on the spot, so you can be sure that no one knows what’s going to happen in that short hour – least of all the people on that stage.

The whole shebang starts with the audience screaming word mash, brain dump musical titles at the night’s MC – in the case of this show, it was performer Isabella Valette – who then picks the one that stands out and away we go. In keeping with a somewhat traditional musical theatre format, last night’s Impromptunes: The Completely Improvised Musical show, named by the audience as A Farmer’s Surprise’, began with an entirely made-up-on-the-spot overture by their extremely talented pianist, followed by an opening number that sets the scene (sort of) for what’s to come. The troupe then takes on an array of wild and weird personalities that they sometimes struggle to keep straight (was it Father Bob or Farmer Bob?) and the story starts to unfold. There’s also an extremely short intermission just to make the whole thing feel truly authentic.

If there’s one word to describe the Impromptunes musical theatre-comedy hybrid, beyond the obvious choices of genius and hilarious, is chaotic. Don’t enter into an Impromptunes theatre expecting everyone to have their shit together – that’s the best part. Whether they’re imitating Siri and Alexa, a cow named Betsy, or just trying to coordinate their dance moves, the Impromptunes cast are simply rolling with the punches through their 1-hour time slot and it’s MARVELOUS. It is all the best parts of improv and sketch comedy combined with bizarre musical numbers (of which there are approximately 8, not including reprises) that is guaranteed to have you laughing and clapping along.

Impromptunes: The Completely Improvised Musical will be singing and dancing their way through late night and matinee shows at Trades Hall as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on the following dates:
Mon 12th & Tue 13th April and Thurs 15th – Sun 18th April.

For more information and ticketing, visit the links below:

Photography by Ranson Media.

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