Theatresports All Stars

Enmore Theatre, NSW. Sunday 22nd May, 2022

Reviewed : 22 May, 2022

Photo : Stephen Reinhardt

The Comedy Festival is over! But it closed with a bang! A mighty, improvised bang – fuelled and detonated by some of the best improvisors in the country! Inspired by two years of Covid closures and six weeks of political posturing, they hit the stage running, keen to consolidate their “All Star” status. Which they certainly did!

Directed by Michael Gregory, the production was announced by Rebecca DeUnamuno, and hosted by Adam Spencer and Jeromaia Detto. The ‘Stars’ were Amanda Buckley, David Callan, Ewan Campbell, Kate Coates, Daniel Cordeaux, Rebecca de Unamuno, Sarah Gaul, Scott Hall-Watson, John Knowles, Jeff Mesina, Lisa Ricketts, Kate Wilkins, Jioji Ravulo  and Linette Voller. With improvising musician ‘maestro’ Benny Davis.… and musical maestro Gep Blake showed just how impressive improvisation can be.

Photo : Stephen Reinhardt

Young improvisors in the audience (and there were many, including some high school Theatresports teams) were treated to tried-and-true impro games played by the “pros”.

Death in a Minute (or in this case two minutes) was one, Expert Double Figures another. With the topic “Mending a Tractor”, this became hilarious. “The Queen’s Lost Corgi” played in the style of Shakespeare, complete with ‘bog clowns’, showed what quick thinking, imagination and ‘going with the flow’ really mean!

Emotional Replay, with a team of four “Putting out a Fire”, was also a hit, especially when the final replay was Lust. Other Stars got involved by waving lengths of yellow and red material to make the flames, and a piece of blue material to make a very suggestive hose!

Photo : Stephen Reinhardt

And those in the audience who’d never seen Theatresports before could not have imagined that an imaginary tennis ball could be the stimulus for breaking down the Berlin Wall! Or that eight players would be quick enough to ‘accept’ a verbal cue and become the wall!

Improvisation is the basis for most of the secondary school Drama courses in Australia. It’s a core topic for both the Stage 5 and 6 courses in NSW, and where better for students to learn to improvise than by watching these performers at work … or by getting involved with Improv Australia and some of its many courses.

For example:

• Jeromaia Detto is leading a four-session course on Clowning beginning on 26th May. Places are still available.

• The Impro Australia Schools Challenge is in progress at the moment, with the Final coming up on 12th June.

• Celebrity Theatresports will return to the Enmore Theatre in August, and

• Finalists will challenge for Cranston Cup in December.

Check out all of this and more on the website improaustralia.com or just type in Impro Australia on your server!

photo : website

The Theatresports family is large and loving. Its generations go back decades into last century. It’s a happy family and members hold each other dear. It was no surprise then, that the All Stars used the last minutes of the evening to ask the audience to join with Impro Australia in sending their thoughts and wishes to John Knowles as his lovely, talented wife Ronelle faces her final battle against an insidious disease.

Our thoughts and wishes to you too, John.

Also published in Stage Whispers magazine