Completely Improvised Potter
Director: Andrew Strano
Performers: Robert Lloyd, Caitlin Yolland, Patrick Rehill, Jessica Greenall, Elizabeth Donald, Eloise Antonie, Ryan Patterson
Screening: Till April, 21, Trades Hall, Carlton
BY SALONEE MISTRY
When the curtain goes up on Completely Improvised Potter at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, the audience is in for an hour of unscripted magic.
Witty, on point and packed with punches, the hour-long performance leaves everyone in fits of giggles.
The audience helps shape the show from the beginning.
Everyone is asked to write down their ideas for the ultimate Harry Potter story, before placing the contributions in a 'Goblet of Fire'.
One suggestion is selected at random and the actors begin to cast their spell; an hour of unscripted, unplanned comedy.
During the show's premier the performers bounce off each other to deliver a narrative for: ‘Harry Potter and His Field Trip to a Wizarding School in Australia’.
Actor Jessica Greenhall, who plays several characters during the show, said suggestions can take the script anywhere and that is the beauty of improvisation.
“It’s a variety of shows you don’t really know what to expect from and I think that’s what improv is,” Ms Greenhall said.
“It’s the stepping into the unknown which makes it exciting for us and the audience,” she said.
Elizabeth Donald who aces the character of Neville Longbottom said improv, after a point, becomes a reflex.
“You learn your own personal style of comedy, what other people find funny about you and it trains a reactive instinct within you as well,” Ms Donald said.
The performance cleverly encapsulates what every Potterhead has felt while reading a book in the series, or watching one of the movies.
It is evident the cast intimately knows each of JK Rowling's storylines, as they are able to seamlessly transition between plots, themes and characters.
In the blink of an eye, each of the actors can transform into the negligent and absent Dumbeldore, the ever-hungry and silly Ron, or even the highly stubborn Harry Potter himself.
Ms Donald acknowledges practising improv differs from rehearsing a regular, scripted play.
“Every rehearsal the director gives us a character and then we try and play it according to our interpretation of it,” Ms Donald said.
“You get to see everyone else’s version of that character and absorb it, leaving 30 different versions to perform on stage,” she said.
The theatre company was formed in 2015.
Potter Improvised was the brain child of Andrew Strano who studied musical theatre, before he dabbled as an improv performer and director.
“Our director had a very clear vision about how he wanted it to go. We always get clear directorial notes and this is the strength of the show,” Ms Donald said.
Completely Improvised Potter runs until April 21 at Trades Hall, Carlton.