By Julia Cudsi
On the Fly Inc is an Adelaide improvisation troupe which has been making the rounds for the past few years, providing entertainment which is generally completely without a script and, well, on the fly.
Although improv is a genre which best lends itself to hilarity, one of On the Fly’s Fringe 2016 offerings, Without a Hitchcock, has a different aim – rather than weaving together a number of short skits based on audience suggestions, the premise is to create a one hour play using only two words from the audience, and adding the theatrical elements of tension and suspense.
If you have previously read any of my reviews, you may have observed that I am always impressed by performers who are able to create something out of literally nothing. Even more impressive, then, is the ability to weave together a 60 minute play, complete with nuanced characters, plot development and a consistent motif, which the entire troupe delivered.
Thursday night’s offering, involving insurrection amongst criminal ranks, Manchurian-candidate style human science experiments and lots of delicious wedding cake tasting certainly provided for an entertaining, suspenseful and at times hilarious evening. The difficulty with semi-serious improv is that at times you can clearly observe the players taking the performance in a different direction from the one their colleagues intended to, with slightly jarring effects – whereas in pure comedy, this is hidden slightly better under the hilarity.
One further minor let-down was the location – although the capacious Tandanya Theatre suited the Hitchcockian mood well, occasionally the sound from an adjoining theatre intruded and interrupted the vibe.
Overall, though, if you like your theatre with a twist of the unexpected this is a very entertaining show. If I had the time, I would go every night to see just how different each performance is.