Brisbane-based improvised comedy company ImproMafia presents ‘Gruesome Yarns’, a show (26 November) of tales aimed at children, but with something for parents too.
ImproMafia have long been Brisbane’s premier, improvised, comedy company, performing interesting and hilarious pieces of work across the city. Everyone from regular theatre-going audiences to rowdy, pub patrons have been impressed by the group’s ability to generate complete stories on the spot, and appearing effortless when doing so.
For this year’s Wonderland Festival, the group are attracting a new audience for their new show ‘Gruesome Yarns’: children. The giant, bearded storyteller who enters first appears daunting, but easily wins over the young audience with his calming voice and playfulness.
Joining the storyteller is a cast of enthusiastic performers, who channel the smiling-and-cheerful presenters kids see on TV, and with names to match: Rad Ryan, Amazing Amy, Terrible Trevor and Crazy Cath. Working together, the cast develop an easy rapport with their young audience and get some great suggestions from them for their stories.
For the first story, after Amazing Amy asks for something smaller than a mouse, one girl gives the strange but funny suggestion of ‘viruses’. From there, the performers display why the show is called ‘Gruesome Tales’ by coming up with a story of viruses and snot who don’t want to live in a nostril together, but come to realise they can live peacefully together inside a dirty tissue.
It wasn’t just the suggested words the cast used in their stories, but they also named characters after the children in the audience. One lucky girl became the namesake for Emily The Dancing Viking Princess. This was a very clever technique to draw the youngsters in, and was very much applauded, and drew bigger laughs every time Terrible Trevor as Princess Emily lost herself and her crown while dancing.
The story that received the most giggles was about two alligators being forced by their mum to breakdance, only for them to realise they’re much better at biting each other’s bums, thanks to the advice of a handsome merman who is eventually devoured by the alligators. The breakdancing alligators was an incredibly silly story, but like much of their show, the silliness delighted both children and parents.
‘Gruesome Yarns’ is a show that definitely lives up to its name, but is just as delightful and funny as it is gruesome.
‘Gruesome Yarns’ plays another show as part of Wonderland Festival at Brisbane Powerhouse on 3 December.