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.
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
Completely Improvised Potter, April 4, 2017 **
In Completely Improvised Potter,
the cast improvise a new narrative based on the characters in the Harry Potter books. Melbourne International Comedy Festival By D.A. -Australian
act, improvised theatre At Trades Hall, The
Meeting Room, until April 23, 2017 Star
Review: ** Reviewer:
Review also published in Herald Sun Arts on April 5, 2017. KH
are an improvisation expert or a Harry Potter purist, this 50-minute improvised
story may turn your Dumbledore-style beard grey.
Improvised Potter, seven performers make up a new story based on the narrative
style, characters, relationships and themes of J K Rowling’s books.
starting point for their original, improvised play is the title of an
as-yet-unwritten Harry Potter novel that they pull out of a ‘goblet of fire’
filled with audience suggestions. Tonight’s title is Harry Potter and the
Trumpet. Yeah, they could have inserted a useful word such as ‘enchanted’ or
‘cursed’, but the details of this trumpety tale are now the responsibility of
must rehearse the Hogwarts’ Orchestra to play his original composition at the
Yule Ball, but none of the students can play an instrument, Voldemort lurks
around the castle doing nasty, sexual things with Nargini the snake, and Harry
behaves like a bit of a whinging smart alec.
youthful audience laughs at absurd or familiar character traits such as Harry’s
smugness, his constant attention seeking and continual whining about his dead
parents. They chortle at Snape’s sliminess, at Dumbledore’s weirdly piping
voice and camp demeanour and at Neville’s adolescent crush on Harry.
this show looks and sounds like a very bumpy student show, so do not expect high
quality improvisational technique or acting and vocal skill. Improvising a
full-length play is not child’s play and it requires enormous skill and extensive
technique. This cast might be better at improvising shorter scenes that are
easier to control.
performers break just about every improvisational rule: the narrative is
inconsistent and lacks a clear through-line, the performers block each other’s
offers, they don’t advance the action and rely too heavily on gags for their
laughs, and these interrupt the advancement of the story.
at each other and at their own jokes, they are often inaudible, the
performances lack dynamic range and there is little physicality, a problem that
makes the staging static and visually uninspiring.
its obvious flaws, Completely Improvised Potter is a cheerful, playful evening
for those who know the Potter books. We can only hope that D.A. got the performance
rights from Rowling – because she’ll find out! Expelliarmus!