“Sketchual Healing” features award-winning comedians and improvisers, Jimmy James Eaton (2009 Australian Best and Fairest Improviser, The Big Hoo Haa Melbourne) and Jason Geary (SkitHouse, Thank God You’re Here, Micallef, Impro Melbourne) in a show that promises centaurs, nerf guns, David Bowie, Michael Caine, assorted animals, bald man love, book eating, ladies, cowboys, narrative, silly voices and an amazing night of theatre. And it delivers on all accounts.
The show is fast paced, slick and packed full of laughs. It is essentially a series of individual sketches that somehow, mostly, become connected by the end of the show in an hilarious nonsensical comedy romp. This is as much theatre as it is a comedy revue. It is physical and energetic, and if theatre-lovers are looking for a suitable gig to attend at this years MICF, this may just be the one. The show has an improv feel but is so well executed and perfectly timed, with Eaton and Geary seamlessly moving from one character to the next, you know this is a well rehearsed and choreographed piece of theatre. There were a few moments that seemed to be improvised but these two masters of the genre adapt so quickly and effortlessly that anything unique to the current performance is readily absorbed and incorporated into the next gag. The casual reference to the fact there was a variation only added to the laughs.
The breaking up of the main story line with interspersed sketches created a feeling of anticipation amongst the audience. How many shows do you ponder the thought, “What about the creation of the centaur?” There was something for adults of any age, although I did wonder how many of the younger adults in the audience knew all the Bowie and Caine puns. However, the caricatures presented were hilarious in their own right and it didn't seem to matter.
There was little narrative in some sketches, with the genius of the acting (run hand over face as you say this) providing all the detail required. This was probably most apparent in the surgery scene. Both Eaton and Geary have amazingly expressive faces and excellent timing and they used this to their advantage, with pauses added for greater effect. The only props in the show were nerf guns – which added to the silliness. Throw in some hilarious voices and ridiculous characters and this show really had a bit of everything. There was some coarse language, although not over-the-top and somewhat appropriate to the storyline, and just one religious sketch that had the potential to offend.
The intimate space of the Imperial Hotel provided the ideal venue, allowing the audience to feel connected to the action. The stage was well lit and very effectively blacked out during scene changes. Even sitting in the second row it was nearly impossible to see where the actors were moving, meaning the lights came up on a whole new scene and story line. Perfectly timed voice overs and music added the final elements to the show, with a good sound balance and excellent diction from the actors meaning no gag was missed. Overall, a hilarious night of comedy theatre!
The show was a sell-out on the night I attended – I'd suggest buying your tickets in advance. Sketchual Healing is playing at the Imperial Hotel until April 19th – worth a look.