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Proving a Wake makes for a fun night out

Ho Hum Musical Improv’s The Wake is a great ice-breaker for an evening out. Catch up with a group of friends, go with colleagues from work… or just enjoy as an excuse to go to a bar on your own.

As you might guess from the name, the Ho Hum Musical Improv cast create entertaining impromptu musicals. What you might not know is that this is a Brisbane-based troupe, and that the core members of the team have improvised together since 2018. Their experience shows. Bring your wackiest ideas as to the hobbies of the deceased and watch the fun unfold.   

On the opening night of ‘The Wake’ Frankie (the deceased—on this occasion Mikee Joaquin’s number was up) had loved flying kites, geocaching, and modifying go-karts. This eclectic set of suggestions from the audience certainly made for an entertaining 50 minutes, as mourners recalled snapshots from Frankie’s life.

If you are familiar with improvised comedy, you’ll enjoy this show. And if you are new to the format, then this is the perfect entrée into the world of improv, as the musical elements work really well. Punctuating the different recollections of the ‘mourners,’ the songs were funny—with a range of musical styles to suit most tastes. Glenn Seaby (guitar) and Mark Grimes (keyboard) were definite stars, keeping the show moving along at a suitable pace, and chipping in new challenges for their fellow performers (on 6th May, Grimes’ reading of the Uncle’s letter was greatly improved by his having to add in a limp…)

For the world premiere performance on 6th May, Seaby and Grimes were joined by Mandy Plumb, Olivia Windsor, Coen Gilbert, Mikee Joaquin, and Adam O’Sullivan. Together they really did deliver great value entertainment. Our first night audience had a ball.

The show only runs for two more performances, which is a pity. It would be great to go back and see each of the cast taking their turn as Frankie—and to find out if Mikee Joaquin can repeat those fantastic dance moves. After all, as this is improv, no two shows are alike.

So, gather a group together, take your partner, or go alone. The venue is perfect for this particular wake. Arrive early, pick up a drink at the bar and move on to the private ‘room’ at the back for the post-funeral gathering to celebrate the foibles, past-times and life of the recently-departed. You’ll be glad you left the house to celebrate the life and loves of Frankie.

Verdict: A great reason to leave the house—a show to enjoy with friends

Audience tips: World Premiere season at The Lord Alfred Hotel, Caxton Street, Paddington, 6- 13th May 2021 (7:30pm). Only two shows remaining (7th and 13th May). 50 minutes. 15+ (held in licensed premises). Cabaret tables.  Tickets $17.50 (concession $12.50).  If you miss it, look out for other improv during the Anywhere Festival, including  A Very Important Meeting,  Begotten,  In the Dark,  My Heart Goes Zoom, and The Importance of being Wasted.

Catherine Lawrence

The reviewer attended the Thursday 6th May 2021 performance.

Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography