ImproMafia return to the Brisbane Comedy Festival with their latest work ‘Animated!’ once again impressing with their improvised riffing and genre knowledge.
The sketch comedy group take aim at fairy tale animations this time around and true to the classics they improvise several songs throughout, sometimes gleefully throwing co-stars under the bus advising them “Yes tell me more while I just sit over here and listen”. Yet who’s to say if that will feature in the shows to come; each night they take suggestions from the audience for the plot and then just come up with the show in the moment, on the night.
There are costumes but no set, the show is accompanied by a live musician who effortlessly supports what the sketch performers come up with on the spot but the greatest production value comes from what they dream up in their minds.
Some of the group have been doing this long enough that even failures have a note of triumph to them. Sometimes performers will surprise each other with a plot development desperately that contradicts or complicates the plot and their co-star will remain in character and simply spin humour out of this awkward revelation.
A scene later, an inspired retcon will raise more laughs. Watching the show come together live makes the audience feel more invested in the performances, this is as much a parody of Disney as it is a live feed of watching comics create a show. Every awkward pause creates a few seconds of suspense before the triumph of a witty remark feels like a victory shared by all. In that sense, the dim, dark confines of the Metro Arts Theatre on a Saturday night feels like a more perfect fit for the group than Brisbane City Hall which is less intimate and focused as a space. Perhaps in response to this, the audience were urged to fill the front rows and disregard allocated seating which helped the atmosphere. This is certainly the type of show that reaches a new level with an enthusiastic crowd behind it and there seemed to be a few leading the charge during this performance which helped lift the show.
ImproMafia are kind of a local treasure that Brisbane should take pride in. The risk of failing is great with a live show, the challenge of constantly coming up with new stuff is exhausting and yet again and again they come up with the goods. Even if some shows don’t get as many laughs as others they delight from start to finish without fail.
'Animated!' plays at Brisbane City Hall until 18 March.