Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Thursday, 3 April 2003
Tan Jose by Josephine O'Reilly & Tanya Bulmer , April 3, 2003
Tan Joseby Josephine O'Reilly & Tanya Bulmer Melbourne Comedy Festival
Melbourne Town Hall, to April 20, 2003
Herbert on April 3
Tan Jose is a combination of improvisational
comedy and set comic routines. This creates risky comedy and makes every
performance a different animal.
The duo, from Sydney,
is Josephine O'Reilly and Tanya Bulmer. Both are seasoned improvisers and
comics. Bulmer is seen regularly on BackBerner and O'Reilly toured for eight years with
naughty Irish comedy trio, The Nualas.
The beauty of
improvisation is that you can see wonderful and hilarious work interspersed
with the not so successful. We are present in the moment of creation.
It is always a treat
to see the mind of a good improviser in a whirl - and these two are good improvisers. They open with a
rehearsed piece. It combines some patter about their names, their families,
their education and their suburbs in Sydney. What follows is a goofy song and
The running theme is
their mock competitive relationship. O'Reilly comes from money and private
school and Bulmer from a poor family. O'Reilly plays the woman who craves a relationship.
Bulmer is the one ho always gets the man.
They find ways to
interject this battle for status into the scenes. They break improvisational
rules (if there are any) by dropping out of character or narrative to snipe at
each other. They use suggestions
from the audience. In fact, the first improvised scene has Wayne, an I.T. guy,
on stage with them as a prospective flat mate.
Early in the show
they may need to inform the audience that they want suggestions from the
audience to begin scenes. The first people asked were unwilling to share their
lives. O'Reilly's Irish newsreader
with accompanying sign language by Bulmer is a treat. Bulmer's translation of
simple words is hilarious visual comedy.
The audience suggestion
of engineer as an occupation led into three scenes about engineers in three
different styles. First was a Southern
USA story in the style of Gone with the Wind. then followed a Sam Spade detective story and finally a song.
All three were a hoot. They told stories
from the grave based on suggestions of swing and pavlova.
The finale is a
wonderful song based on lyrics provided by Wayne. O'Reilly's voice is smashing
and Bulmer provides a charming and silly ribbon dance. The next show will
be different again. That's what we like in comedy. Diversity..