Snort has become a mainstay of the comedy scene here in Auckland over the last five years, and for good reason. Aucklanders are hungry for the type of ensemble improv comedy masterfully delivered by the Snort crew. And, if last night’s audience numbers are anything to go by, this special Edinburgh fundraiser performance Snort With Friends: Late Night Improv Extravaganza will have helped get them closer to spreading some laughter globally soon too.
The ensemble cast contains a number of familiar faces for comedy fans including – Fred Award and Billy T Award winners and nominees such as Chris Parker, Tom Sainsbury, Alice Snedden, Guy Montgomery, Laura Daniel, Joseph Moore, Donna Brookbanks, Kura Forrester, Eli Matthewson, Hamish Parkinson, Brynley Stent, Rhiannon McCall, Lana Walters, and Eddy Dever.
The structure of the show is a simple yet effective one. A celebrity guest is invited onto the stage to monologue about any given topic suggested by the audience, followed by the improv-ers creating scenes on the spot based, sometimes very loosely, on said monologue.
Last night, we were lucky enough to have three big names in the form of Aussie comic and crowd favourite Becky Lucas, TV, film and Netflix star and genuinely cool bloke David Farrier, and news guy/shiny-chested dancer Mike McRoberts (‘kia ora, good evening’).
It’s a pleasure to see where the cast goes with the material served up to them just seconds before, and to see the generous and collaborative way in which they work together. Yes, the more seasoned players get more stage-time by virtue of their experience and therefore confidence and skill, but this is not to the detriment of the fresher recruits who still get their share of the spotlight. Alice Snedden is a real standout, along with Chris Parker whose physicality mixed with quick wit and sharp timing are a hilarious combination.
Last night’s particular performance conjured skits featuring bags of dildos, gay rabbit couples, and squeaking teeth. But by far the most memorable moment of the night must’ve been Mike McRoberts’ monologue which brought the room to a standstill and left the audience fascinated as to how the improv pros would work with what turned out to be a fairly intense and dark story set in the theatre of war. Not to worry, though, with a bit of gentle ribbing of Mike, and some quick thinking we were not disappointed.
The great thing about Snort is that each night is a new and completely different show but with the same great Kiwi comedy talent. With this calibre of show, I’ll certainly be back during the comedy festival and beyond.
Snort With Friends proves yet again to be a crowd-pleasing, hilarious riot of a show. Check them out at Auckland’s Basement Theatre 10th, 17th and 24th May and at Wellington’s BATS Theatre 17th and 18th May
Reviewed by Steph Bean.