FRINGE REVIEW – Chronically Ill-Prepared

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By Samantha Field

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Watching an improv show is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. Chronically Ill-Prepared promises an exploration of different human experiences, however the first rendition of this show for 2024 missed that mark.

The players in this troupe answer to one name – Luke – who begins the show by telling his performers they are going to play games, and calling them forward while asking the others for prompts. After several games, Luke decides to ‘try again tomorrow’, at which point the show shifts to pre-determined unspoken prompts where any performer can jump in at will.

While this show was full of impressive acting performances, it did not fulfill expectations when it came to tackling topics of mental health. The show seemed set up to explore these themes, with the players repeatedly telling Luke they were feeling ‘not good’, but this was met with repeated frustration from Luke rather than understanding.

Luke often also interjects during the performance, telling players they are doing things wrong or antagonising them to do better and it is unclear what the purpose of this is. Furthermore, during one game where the prompt was mental health related (loneliness) the players’ resulting skit did not end up addressing this topic. The closest the show came to addressing any issues was during another skit when one player explored feelings of not being good enough, but just as this skit was starting to dive deeper the bell was rung to end it.

Being the first show of the Fringe may have impacted how this particular performance went. While the show did not tackle mental health themes it was still an entertaining display of improv, with the players’ sombre acapella pieces and the red and blue lighting indicating that this is not the usual upbeat improv people may be used to seeing. Yet it still manages to generate many laughs with the performers giving heart-filled energy to each skit they performed. While the audience may not come away with a greater understanding of mental illness, they will still come away having seen a great show.

2 Stars

To book tickets to this show, go here.

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