Impro, the wild and crazy beast that could go anywhere, is a brutally risky form of performance, which is where the thrill comes for the audience. Tonight's MC and amazing wearer of leopard print, Andrew Strano, hypes the room with ease, and already it looks like this is going to be a professional-level shindig. “Has everyone heard of The Harold?“ he enquires, and I seem to be the only one who hasn't. They've got an impro-savvy crowd here, and that always helps. They know when to whoop. Which, in impro, is pretty much all the time.
Turns out The Harold is a long-form, three-part style of impro, inspired by a single-word suggestion from the audience. Tonight the four teams – The NASA Dropouts, The Wrong Shoulder, The Elevator DJs and The Peeping Toms – each does a Harold set.
Watching these guys improvise is like watching an Escher drawing. They pull up words, ideas and themes from the single-word suggestion, and go back to them throughout the sets. It's a really satisfying and useful way to improvise. A roller coaster transforms into a sugar tram in front of our very eyes. We are introduced to The Evil League of Evil Superheroes who are so evil they drink full cream milk and don't even separate their recycling from their regular rubbish. The Peeping Toms create a surreal bartender tale, and The Wrong Shoulder transmogrifies the word 'spider' into an incredible story of lost, underground brothers. When you have a performer with a PhD in Monty Python, you can't go wrong. After three hours I'm still transfixed, but it's getting hot in here… must be all the sexy people on stage.
Every second Wednesday at The Dan O'Connell.
Veterans lead this week's releases with new albums from Tim Rogers & The Bamboos (Album Of The Week) and Daniel Johns plus albums from Ella Thompson, The Vaccines and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.