Jetpack Theatre Collective
The Old 505 @ 5 Eliza
5 Eliza Street, Newtown
Season: 15 – 19 December
It takes great guts to perform a show you’ve never rehearsed before in your life… Indeed, improvisation is an art which can be painstaking at its worst and yet exhilarating at its pinnacle. Jetpack Theatre Collective takes the leap with well-bestowed faith in the capacity of the creative individuals involved. To raise the stakes, this isn’t just an improvised show, but an entire improvised musical – requiring not only quick thinking and theatre performance skills, but an impressive musical aptitude to top it off. My oh my, is this a risk well-worth taking. With a core cast of four individuals, two special guests each night and the creative involvement of two directors throughout the show, nothing on the stage has been seen before, nor is likely to be seen again. What a thrill!
For the audience that I was a part of, the ‘On the Spot Musical’ that we were graced with the performance of was, “Osteoarthritis: The Musical!” While this may be a far-fetched feat for many to envisage, the cast brought it brilliantly to the fore. We witnessed journeys to Atlantis, songs about the vast available types of milk, and an underwater dweller who just wanted a few friends to stay with him in the deep sea…all this, and much more, delivered in delightful song, rhymes, and some groovy choreography.
Significantly, the Collective have engaged some very talented improvisers in the show. Not only are they hilarious, but in brief scenes they manage clever plot development and character depth, playing for authenticity and feeling, not only for laughs. Fishwick and Halliday maintain a watchful eye over the proceedings, stepping in at various points to shift the angle of the scene, keeping the show sharp. They display a crucial understanding of what makes theatre work, and are sure to intervene before anything goes awry (as is quite possible when you’re creating a scene off the top of your head – it’s not easy).
Following this ‘On the Spot Musical’ each night is a new show performed by special guests – you could attend the Jetpack Spontaneous Theatre Festival every night of the season and see two totally different shows each time! It is hard for me to comment on the second show given its changeability, however I must commend Jetpack Theatre Collective for the actualisation of a terrific concept.
Sometimes in theatre we lose touch with its pure entertainment value, as underlined eloquently by cast member Robert Boddington. Shedding the constant pursuit of profound meaning, whilst surely an important aspect of theatre, and rather relishing the joy found in the humorous and fantastical can be just as edifying. Instead of opting for the mind numbing ‘entertainment’ of binge-watching television, Jetpack Theatre Collective offers an opportunity to be truly and gleefully entertained in a live setting. You can’t get much more alive than the thrilling notion of completely unrehearsed merriment - you won’t be able to help but be thoroughly entertained.