Enmore Theatre, 5 August, 2018
The lure of some of our celebrities of stage, screen, radio and the comedy circuit teaming up to take on the improvised hilarity of Theatresports to raise money for Canteen has been attracting packed audiences for years. The 2018 performance was no exception. Crowds gathered outside the Enmore theatre impatiently waiting for the doors to open – and once they did, a constant stream of excited, cheerful fans flowed in, stopping to buy raffle tickets at the door, before finding their seats and chatting as they awaited another night of “non-stop improvised comedy madness”.
To say this audience is eclectic is an understatement. There are no age, social or cultural barriers to Theatresports – especially not on this special night. Kids and adults from all over the city flock to see the faces they know so well fool around in a series of games that test their quick thinking, physical dexterity, collaboration … and intelligence!
A ‘curtain raiser’ surprise in the form of the flexible and acoustically unbelievable Umbilical Brothers got the audience even more hyped. What a start to the night! And they stayed on beside musician Tom Cardy to provide appropriate sound effects for the games to come.
Hosted by the ineffable David Callan – actor, comedian, writer and Theatresports champion – and his off-sider, game decider and time-keeper extraordinaire, Jane Simmons, this year’s teams were welcomed to the stage by an audience ready to have fun while generously raising funds for one of the most important cancer support organisations in the world.
This year’s celebrities – among them Costa Georgiadis on a different but dramatically fertile ‘verge’; Rebecca De Unamuno rhyming rhythmically; Adam Spencer gyrating geometrically; Holly Brisley playing away from Summer Bay; Zoe Norton checking things out; and Jay Laga’aia without Big Ted but still with “stories to tell” – got off to a flying start with a series of two minute games, discerningly judged by Theatresports aficionados Murray Fahey, Jenny Hope and Mark Streeter.
On a more serious note was the story of a family devastated by cancer, shared bravely by the young daughter and granddaughter who has become their mainstay and carer with the encouragement, support and mentorship of the Canteen family. Her story galvanised the interval sale of raffle tickets, with just a little ‘celebrity’ encouragement.
The second half of the program saw inter-team shenanigans as Simmons hit them with combinations of games and challenges. Competition raged – theatrically of course! Belts were loosened in a hilarious ‘emotions’ confrontation in a fortuneteller’s booth. A Roller Derby in stilettos minced menacingly. And Cinderella was re-told, sinisterly in Kung-fu style. It was a veritable feast of improvised proportions.
Finally the raffle was drawn … the winning ticket holders congratulated … Callan and Simmons declared Rebecca De Unamuno and her team – Rowan Witt, Daniel Cordeaux and Monique Dykstra – the 2018 champions … and a happy audience made its way home.
So ended a night of fun and frivolous fund raising for the worthiest of causes – based on an improvisation idea developed in Canada way back in 1978 by Keith Johnstone, and inspired, believe it or not, by the antics of professional wrestling! Today Impro teams compete around the world … just as Sydney the Theatresports teams battle annually for The Cranston Cup. This year’s competition begins on 23rd September – check Eventbrite for tickets.