FANS of popular American show “Whose Line Is It Anyway” will adore The Baby Seals as they pull off a night of improvised comedy at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Carene Chong gives you the low-down.
With no lines to read or a script to follow, improvised comedy could easily get a performer into a sticky situation.
But with their quick wits, punchy sense of humour, excellent storytelling and a fistful of action – key ingredients to good improvisational comedy – Melbourne comedy troupe The Baby Seals delivered a spread.
The show was reminiscent of the popular American improvisational comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway”, but with more original skits. Members of the cast are chosen to “play” different “games” each night, showcasing each individual’s sense of humour and comedic stylings.
A favourite aspect of the show is always the opportunity for audiences to participate. In some instances, the audience becomes the writers as well as the stars of the show. They decide what they want to watch and the performers have to respond to their whacky requests on the spot – a routine that would no doubt guarantee fresh laughs at every show.
A memorable “game”, performed for the very first time for the audience, was “Mystery Bags”. Actors had to choose a bag at random from three options, and all of them contained unpalatable foods such as a raw head of onion or a handful of lemon wedges, which they had to eat while acting out a skit based on the sinking of the Titanic.
Pity those (like me) sitting in the front row, dodging and ducking flying wedges of lemon and dry crackers gone astray as the actors delivered their punchlines.
Ridiculous pairings suggested by the audience for games such as “History as we know it” (Bob Marley had a hand in the 1970 West Gate Bridge disaster?) and “Storytelling” (Julia Gillard was behind the great Queensland floods all along!) brought both the comedians and the audience to stitches.
Combined with equally amusing segments like “Sound Effects”, “Puppetry” and “Press Conference”, the comedians held fast to their promise of an hour of guffaws and downright tear-inducing hilarity.
My verdict? Highly recommended for a cheap and entertaining night out.
Impro Comedy Jam is showing every Thursday from now till April 19 at The Dan O Connell, 255 Canning St, Carlton. Tickets are an affordable $10 each. To book, or for more details, visit the Melbourne International Comedy Festival website.