Factory Theatre, Marrickville. Monday 29 August, 2022
Reviewed : 29 August, 2022
After six weeks of impressive impro and competitive comedy, six teams met for the Cagefight finale! A chance to improvise brilliantly enough to win over the audience – and a cheque for $2,000. So great had the following for the competing teams grown, that organiser Dave Crisante had to move the event from the cosy cheeriness of the Chippendale Hotel to the cavernous capacity of the Factory Theatre. Undeterred by rain, the audience – friends and family; young, older and very old! – filtered up the Factory steps, drinks and phones in hand, to cheer on their favourite team.
Those phones would be essential because, realising the crowd would be far too big to use the subjective method of applause to decide the winner of each heat, Crisante and his helpers had a fairer alternative. Why risk subjectivity when you can resort to electronic voting? And very few of those in the audience would be without a smart phone! Hence, on each seat was a small program with team names on the front and a series of QR Codes inside. One of these would be activated briefly each time a vote was required. How’s that! Performing arts and technology working together again!
The players in the final six teams were a mixture of seasoned improvisors and new recruits to the art. All were infused with the important ingredients for improvisation: courage, quick thinking, going with the flow and enthusiasm.
They ‘played off’ over two heats. Each team was given 12 minutes to strut their stuff. The first heat saw “Impro (Taylor’s Version)”, “The Queen’s New Boyfriend” and “Uno Reverse” battle the round out in a frenzy of locations, events and characters, most suggested by the audience.
Despite some fierce competition, “The Queen’s New Boyfriend” topped the electronic score with their six-person team creating a scenario where Mum and Dad channel jumped between a series of TV programs from Soap Opera to British Crime. They were all totally involved, changing characters quickly, taking up offers in a flash and keeping things moving and coherent.
The second heat involved “Flight Mode”, “Fillow Talk” and “The Cream Team”. “Flight Mode” took on the challenge of performing in ‘a rock and a hard place’, using written confessions collected from the audience. “Fillow Talk” used their previously successful idea of trying to act out a phrase from a song spoken in Fillipino. “The Cream Team”, battling with the unlikely topics of ice cubes and Lord of the Rings, was successful.
The two winning teams then pulled out the very best of their impro skills in a battle to the end. Both received thunderous applause from the very supportive crowd – but the electronic ballot gave the $2000 to “The Cream Team” – Reuben Ward, Josh Magee and Tom Cardy (who some of you may have seen recently on Spicks and Specks).
This was a big night for all of the performers, and for Crisante and his team who cover all the behind-the-scenes organisation that makes these events work. Over 160 performers have been involved in the weekly heats leading up to the final. They’ve honed their impro skills, developed their team’s expertise and become part of the ‘buzz’ that is Impro Comedy Cagefight.
Dave Crisante’s Monday night classes and comedy impro heats, and his Thursday night communication course at ‘The Chippo’ have proved an exciting addition to the Sydney Impro scene.