The undeniably talented Impromptunes are back at Fringe with their latest improvisation show, Hamiltunes. Taking a suggested historical figure from the audience and a few shouted ‘facts’ about this figure – although any fact-checking at this stage is strictly ignored – the cast improvise a musical about this person’s life in the style of hip hop musical Hamilton. This is where the audience interaction ceases and the ridiculousness begins.
On their opening night of Melbourne Fringe, the prompt given is Tony Abbott. Tittering in response, ‘the audience goes mild’ as the Impromptunes’ company director and host Emmet Nichols aptly surmises.
Fortunately, this initial underwhelming audience response is in no way reflective of the following performance. Full of witty one-liners, risqué rap battles, and brief yet poignant political commentary, the Impromptunes troupe quickly has the audience in hysterics. Nichols guides the performance for both the audience and the performers as the narrator.
Rapping about Abbott and Malcom Turnbull colluding, the topics and commentary range from harmless, like Abbott’s onion-eating incident, to more relevant and controversial comments thrown in which equal casualness. It’s these currently politically relevant cracks that generate the biggest reactions, and the Impromptunes are on the ball. The audience laughs raucously at a one-liner about Abbott needing a plebiscite to change his mind about gay marriage overnight, and lyrics about Abbott being headbutted demonstrate how quickly the performers think on their feet.
Much like Hamilton, the Impromptunes’ Hamiltunes uses some creative license. Clearly not bound by geographical accuracy, the evening’s performance sees Abbott’s story begin in Nigeria, move to “neighbouring country” Spain for a brief affair with a woman named Consuela, and finally end in Australia, where his ex-lover arrives with his baby, seeking blessings for her new relationship with his sister Christine. The performers move with each other seamlessly, building the world of the story effortlessly.
Comprised of WAAPA, VCA and NIDA graduates as well as members of The Improv Conspiracy, Impro Melbourne, Spontaneous Broadway and The Big HOO-HAA!, the Impromptunes are all talented, quick-witted performers.
Catch Hamiltunes’ Melbourne Fringe season at the Lithuanian Club at 8pm each evening until September 30th.