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Happy Little Accidents @ PICA Performance Space

25/11/14

– by Leah Vlatko

The Tuesday edition of the ‘MoveMe Improvisation Festival’ thrilled those undeterred by the promise of compulsory audience involvement. Taking place in the PICA Performance Space, quite a crowd gathered for this theatrical component of the Festival. ‘Happy Little Accidents’, a one-night-only performance by Perth theatre staples Shane Adamczek, Sam Longley, and Sean Walsh, delighted and amused the audience. Using improvised music and lighting, the show was an exciting take on theatre improvisation.

The stage was set up with three chairs, a checked mat, a larger than life picture frame, and an office-style water dispenser, creating the impression that the piece was more organised than improvised. However, Longley explained that the set existed to make it seem ‘like we know what’s happening.’ Making it up as they went along, one surprise followed the next as the three skilled improvisers led us through office small talk, internet café romance, friendly assassinations, hospital drama, pub musicals, and countless other unexpected scenes.

Longley began the evening by asking ‘what is your favourite word?’, and loudest response was the word ‘bubble’. Rolling with that suggestion, the cast amused the audience with quips about freezing and falling over bubbles. This set the precedent for audience involvement, and before long there was a steady rhythm of audience suggestion and actor response.

I found the best moments to be those precious instances where the cast themselves seemed thoroughly confused by the events unfolding. At times like these, the fourth wall cracked and the audience shared an in-joke with those on stage.

Further breaking the fourth wall, in one sceneLongley and Walsh assumed the role of the audience and critiqued Adamczak’s representation of Perth Independent theatre. Longley and Walsh played a bickering couple that would not stop talking during a performance, and were shushed by an audience now comfortable interacting with the cast.

Overall, this show provided a refreshingly light contribution to the heavy complexity that characterises the ‘MoveMe Improvisation Festival’. Simple, sweet, and funny, ‘Happy Little Accidents’ was an utter delight to watch. Be sure to look out for more works from these talented improvisers in the future.

The MoveMe Improvisation Festival runs until Sunday November 30, so ensure you make time to experience the wonderful performances on offer.

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