The Big HOO HAA! has been one of Melbourne' leading improv groups for eight years. In that time, the troupe has consistently sold out its regular weekly shows that are completely created from audience suggestions. For this year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the group returns for their usual late night improvised tomfoolery that pits The Bones against The Hearts in the fiercest battle that improv has ever seen.
The show has its two three-player teams - Greg Lavell, Anna Renzenbrink and Jaron Why in one team and Elly Squire, Isabella Valette and Luke Ryan in another, on the evening I attended - battling it out to see who will be victorious in this improv death match. The
beauty of improv is that the audience and the improvisers never know what is going to transpire and it is simultaneously liberating and petrifying for both sides knowing that anything can happen on stage.
While some suggestions are not always going to be very inspiring - people really need to be banned from suggesting porn or pole dancer or anything related to sex in an improv show - the group takes them all on board and make them work without any fuss. The games that are played throughout are highly entertaining, including the "Da Do Run Run Run" rhyming name game and it's version of a blind date matchmaking service.
The short-forms scenes however are where things falter slightly and it seems like not everyone is working on the same story and scrambling to figure out how to make it all come together. However, Ryan and Renzenbrink provide great support during these moments in grounding scenes and establishing character. Valette also shines with her crowd-winning musical number on choosing who should die between her son and her employee.
The Big HOO HAA! has a strong track record that speaks for itself with its highly taltented performers coming from various comedy, theatre and performance backgrounds. Improv is a beast to master and while the night in question was not the best that this group is capable of, there are still plenty of laughs to be had in a show that is created in an instant and never to be seen to again.
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall, Cnr Swanston & Collins Sts, Melbourne.
Season: Until 21 April | Fri- Sat 11pm, Mon 8:30pm
Length: 55 minutes
Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc
Bookings: MICF website