A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published March 10th 2020
You'll regret missing this laugh-a-minute show
Bring together three experienced - one could almost say veteran - improv performers from The Improv Conspiracy, put them in front of an audience, and - based on a single word from an audience member - have them perform a totally improvised play, based on that word - and you have Beautiful Humans.
From left: Andy Balloch, Tim Quabba and Justin Porter: the reviews are in.
Performers Andy Balloch (The Sparrow Men, Laugh Master's Academy, The Bell Shakespeare Company), Tim Quabba (16th Street, Verve Studios, iO Theatre) and Justin Porter (Bear Attack, iO West, Cher and Retweet) are at the top of their (improv) game, and it shows in the masterful way they tackle this performance.
After the performers quickly introduced the format of the night - then repeated it in double time for an unfortunate audience member who arrived late - the show got underway.
In response to a call out to the audience for a word to get them started, two audience members - sitting in different rows of the theatre - by coincidence yelled the word 'regret' almost in unison. After a moment's deliberation, the trio were into their fully improvised play.
Initial scene: the three performers lamenting their woeful dance performance on stage. 'Maybe it won't be so bad, maybe it won't get social media coverage', says Tim hopefully. 'It's already out there... look', says Andy (offering a mimed phone). 'Actually, I don't look too bad...'.
And from there, we went through a series of scenes, led by each of the actors in turn, happily leading their fellow performers down some rather unexpected paths. Some of the scenes were directly related to the topic, others were perhaps stronger on their comedic value than storytelling, but overall the audience was taken on a slick, clever, hilarious, fast-paced ride.
Apart from the lines that had us laughing out loud at every turn, there were some other aspects of the show that were noteworthy. First, it is totally non-PC. Lines were crossed without apology. There was, for example, the scene about Douglas from the mailroom, ruthlessly sending up someone who is a little... hmm... different.
Andy as Douglas from the mail room, that annoying work colleague
And the scene where one of the dancers locks his parents in the barn, in an attempt to prevent them from seeing his dance performance (and related negative reviews) on social media. (Happily, he later releases them.)
Andy Balloch - putty faced
Second, there is great chemistry between the three performers. Putty faced Andy is a great foil to the other performers, and there seems to be a competition between the three as to which can cause the others to crack up. It's a delight to watch.
There's great chemistry between this trio
Third, it's hardcore improv to perform a whole play with zero props, costumes or music, but that's what these beautiful humans manage to do, and they do it... beautifully.
The trio even achieved a happy ending for their play, with the dancers redeeming themselves through an 'acclaimed' (ridiculous) dance to Beyoncé's Single Ladies.
Beautiful Humans generally plays each month, however, there will be no show in April. So, do keep on eye on The Improv Conspiracy's website so you don't miss out on the next performance - or live to regret it!
The Improv Conspiracy Theatre is located at Level 1, 19 Meyers Place, Melbourne. They have original shows running every Thursday to Sunday night, generally three shows per night.
Tickets are standardly $15, (with a 20% discount if you book more than 24 hours in advance).
The images in this article were taken by the writer.