The improv troupe’s strength lies in their characterisation. Matt Powell is Rudolf: the timid but super poised ballet dancer. Christine Brooks plays Peppermint Sparkle: former child star with an ego complex. Tara McEntee and Jennifer O’Sullivan play complicated besties Jasmine and Sheryl. Many, many more well-crafted and recognisable characters take to the spotlight. A personal favourite was Clare Kerrison as the Mz Darbys-esque school director.
The music (Liam Kelly) and lighting (Darryn Woods) design are of course completely improvised as well. The lighting had the huge challenge of keeping up with the actors and directors’ prompts. The stage was lit up like Boogie Wonderland (RIP) and the music gave fantastical offers for the dancers' homework and recitals.
With such an energetic and enthusiastic ensemble it was sometimes hard for the actors to unanimously end a scene. The stage would black out before a singer had finished their emotional song. These technical mishaps became a motif the cast drew attention to and in turn landed big laughs - it’s a little rough around the edges but what good improvised show isn’t? The production doesn’t take itself too seriously and this delights the audience.
The theme explored in opening night was friendship. Brooks quickly created a colourful metaphor during the final song: friendship is multi-coloured. Our “colours” compliment each other like how friends offer different strengths and support in relationships. I am always amazed how quickly improvisers can create content from seemingly unconnected prompts. It was totally RAD! I did expect to hear more local jokes and references however. This would add even more colour and allow the cast to make further hilarious connections.
So You Think You Khandallah? has an episodic run at the Comedy Festival. Every night will be completely different and take off from the previous episode's melodramatic cliffhanger (like all great teen soaps). This is an exciting format and does make me curious to binge watch their season - if only the tickets were cheaper!
The show is a very funny and wholesome addition to the Comedy Festival. Catch the next episode at BATS tonight and the final chapter on Saturday. Book you tickets here.