To read more go to - putting the happen back into happening, the out into outing www.desireewalsh.org
Unscripted situation comedy
Late Night Letters and Numbers is based on an ill-fated panel come television game show. To say the SBS show is dry and a tad nerdy quite kind. But you can check that out yourself because following its cancelling is being repeated at the usual game show TV time of 5.30pm.
The challenge of transforming this format into a theatre game depends upon the comedians being able to ad-lib humorous rapport whilst playing a dry, nerdy game to a largely uninitiated Letter and Numbers audience.
The original TV show went something like this; two contestants compete in various linguistic and numerical rounds - all play against the clock. The contestants have to make the longest word out of nine chosen letters.
Then the contestants chose six random numbers which have to be multiplied/added/subtracted to match the random number which is made up by an audience member. Every now and then an anagram is given up for all to work through, the contestants challenged to be the first to work it out.
This evening the comic contestants were Dilruk Jayasinha who went up against local Nadia Collins; the Stevenson's and Daniel Roberts participated, Nick Caddeye hosted taking place in the beautiful Perth Town Hall. Built by convicts, the gothic Perth Town Hall still has reminders of its past with its remarkable convict motifs such as its decorations in the shape of the hangman's rope and broad arrow windows.
Once upon of time, the Perth Town Hall was situated at the highest point of the settlement. To say that Late Night Letters and Numbers was the highest point of the festival would be, at best, a gross exaggeration.
The potential was there but not the substance. The crowd was small (only really taking up four front rows of chairs situated on the stunning old wooden floors). But then again, only half of the old hall was ever set to be utilised (so maybe it was all that leftover space added to the leftover space that added to why things felt a bit lost in translation).
The comedians themselves confessed to not knowing how the game was played, nor really sure about the role they had (other than perhaps knowing it was ad-lib and they were required to improvise and deliver the unscripted situation comedy extemporaneously). Maybe it was because it was 11 pm at night and it possible most of the comedians had already performed and most of the audience had already laughed and both parties needed a bit more in the way of encouragement.
Post the show, I did overhear more than one audience member blame the comedians. in turn, outside the theatre, I heard one of the comedians blame the audience. So obviously there was blame to go around.
But after all was said and done - it was all a bit subdued. Still, as it is with ad-lib it may be very different on another night.