A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Everything to gain by seeing this super fun show
19th century Paris had the Moulin Rouge as a hub; 21st century Melbourne now has the equivalent in Nothing Toulouse, a fully improvised soap opera directed by Impro Melbourne's Patti Stiles, who recently co-directed a soap in London that received five star reviews.
Nothing Toulouse plays each Sunday until 11th August
With a set that evokes the streets of Montmartre, the large cast brings to life stories of love, loss and laughter in a show where no-one - including Ms Stiles - knows exactly what will happen. And that of course is the beauty of improv - the sense of chaos, of pushing boundaries, and perhaps of improv actors trying to outdo each other.
In Nothing Toulouse, we see some of the best of the best in improvisation; performers who have been around for many years, and now teach the craft themselves. As a result, you can expect an entertaining show, and we certainly got it the night we attended.
The butcher (Chris Gregory), aspiring dancer (Jaime Cerda) and the architect (Rik Brown) stop for a chat out the front of the butcher's shop
Effecting French accents with varying degrees of credibility, the cast improvises the story through a series of scenes called by Patti Stiles.
Nothing Toulouse is loosely centred around a bar, Le Chat Rouge, managed by Jeanne de Beaujolais (Jenny Lovell). Various characters call in for a drink, including artist Henri Le Trebuchet (Jason Geary), choreographer Remy Martin (Adam McKenzie) and butcher Monsieur Fay de Complis (Chris Gregory).
Three of the characters in Nothing Toulouse: (from left) Remy Martin (Adam McKenzie), Fay de Complis (Chris Gregory) and Henri Le Trebuchet (Jason Geary)
Several stories played out during the performance we saw. The rather tubby Monsieur Yoplait (Jaime Cerda) wants to live out his dream of being a dancer at Le Chat Rouge. Can the famous choreographer help him? Why does English writer Claire de Lune (Amy Moule) ask so many questions, and what is she recording in her notebook?
Writer Claire de Lune (Amy Moule). Why does she ask so many questions?
And will Eloise Andolini (Brenna Dixon) be able to continue her clandestine relationship with famous architect Gustav Eiffel (Rik Brown), or will Eloise's father, Belfonte Andolini (Tim Redmond) put a stop to it?
Gustav Eiffel (Rik Brown) reviews plans for his tower
All this and more may (or may not) be revealed at next Sunday's show! This is an evolving story so each week's performance will be different.
As if there wasn't already enough energy on stage, there are also spontaneous bursts of can-can dancing from a troupe of students from Impro Melbourne's workshops. While their enthusiasm may at times outstrip their dance skills, it is certainly rollicking good fun.
Spontaneous bursts of can-can dancing throughout
There's such joy in watching a top notch improv crew such as the Impro Melbourne actors perform. Not only are they brilliant at what they do, but it's clear they love it. That sense of fun and silliness transmits to the audience, and you can't help but laugh along. I can't get enough of Improv Melbourne's version of fun!
Nothing Toulouse plays at the David Williamson Theatre, 35 St John Street, Prahran at 7pm each Sunday night until 11th August 2019.
Tickets are fabulous value for two hours of rip-snorting comedy at just $20 (full) or $15 (concession).