Every time I see Impromptunes I am continually impressed with their performances, how they grow as a group, and how the quality of show these guys put on doesn’t seem to drop or waver. Six rotating performers, one piano and a name from the audience is all they need to completely improvise a show. On this night, for one night only, we were treated to “The Silent Room The Musical”, about an uptight Windsor Manor and its inhabitants, servants and the master and his wife, and their interactions.
Music by Jamie Burgess set the tone and pace of the show with the performers sometimes following his lead, as he set the formula and structure of the show through the type of music played. Complete with overture and interval music, the show strongly relies on this back bone for the improvised musical to work.
Improvisation like this requires real communication and real bond between the group, and it shows on stage. Someone will often take the lead initially but it is mostly about awareness of where your fellow cast members are, what they are doing, and they must have a formula roughly for how the storyline should evolve. While they do stumble over each other occasionally and while there are moments of blocking ideas or confusion, the show they are able to create on the spot outweighs any spots of clunkiness.
They are well rehearsed, and the show has all the elements of a book musical: duets, group numbers, solo numbers, incredible harmonies. “Anywhere but the Silent Room” is still stuck in my head!
The Silent Room is a place of punishment, magic and mystery, where people are banished when the Master’s wife isn’t happy and where mysterious things happen. It’s dark, its quiet and there’s only one entry and exit. Strong characters and a classist society is immediately established, followed by interpretive dance, a tragedy, a race, and all of it very dramatic. It has elements of Alice in Wonderland, going down the rabbit hole, and Beauty and the Beast with the servants becoming part of, and acting as the furniture, and the Bold and the Beautiful with the return of the hidden twin brother!
It is such a clever idea, and such a delight to watch these talented performers pull a show from nowhere, so it’s disappointing the room is not packed out for these shows. The always funny, always entertaining offerings from Impromptunes this year include The Improvised Musical and Bachela-la-la, and they’ve sold out audiences at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and appear at our various comedy and fringe festivals around Australia. These guys are a wonderful way to kick off your evening of laughs at the Comedy Festival, as you’ll be taken on a different adventure every time you see the show. Catch the Completely Improvised Musical at Trades Hall until 23rd April. Tickets at: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2017/shows/the-completely-improvised-musical