‘Untitled Relationship Experiment’ // Ollie Windsor

‘Untitled Relationship Experiment’ was unhinged.

Have you ever wondered what craziness happens behind closed doors? ‘Untitled Relationship Experiment’ highlights the unspoken conversations behind Queer relationships in one of the most hilariously constructed productions of the Brisbane Improv Festival.

The festival was created to provide an opportunity for performance troupes to showcase their improv talent to Brisbane audiences, and it has succeeded.

Although it needs little introduction, improv is the art of creating art from scratch with no prior preparation. Live TV shows such as ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ and ‘Thank God You’re Here’ have brought improvisation into the mainstream but the medium ultimately belongs on the stage.

Big Fork Theatre is Brisbane’s home of comedy and improv, and they hold regular workshops for aspiring actors to learn the techniques of these genres. This year Big Fork Theatre found its permanent home in Fortitude Valley which is perfectly placed for some late-night comedy.

Taking suggestions from the audience, ‘The Untitled Relationship Experiment’ finds the humour in queer relationships inspired by suggestions from the audience. Featuring a cast of Brisbane’s best queer improvisers, the audience get a glimpse into the homes and lives of LGBTQI+ people and relationships.

On this particular night, there were two Queer couples; the first was Justin and Eddie who have been married for 12 years, bought a sex couch, have a dog and really want a child; the other relationship was led by Matilda – or Tilly as her partner, Jess, calls her – who was recently stopped using meth and is an extremely flaky person.

What made this show intriguing was the fact that the entire production and scenario was created by the audience members.

Use of physical comedy was utilised throughout the piece, ensuring the audience was captivated and engaged. The performers’ use of comic timing was ingenious, especially when the actors steered into the topic of ‘hot mums’.  Their skilful use of expression and gestures helped boost the comedic elements of the production. This production’s story developed further – on the fly – as they each continued to bounce off the other’s ideas with a “yes, and….” technique – the pinnacle of improv theatre.

Ollie Windsor as Jess was grounded and was caring in their performance. Windsor appeared to have meticulously thought out every movement and considered their own script to ensure theme of relationships was at the forefront.

Kath Griffin as Tilly was the highlight of the night. Griffin filled their role with absolute hilarity and played on Tilly’s drug use often.

Ben Snaith as Justin was a typical ‘dad’ character; the audience just wanted to get up and give Snaith a hug whenever he drew sincere emotion out of the character. Snaith was most skilful at taking the audience on a journey.

Mark Grimes as Eddie was maniacal and manipulative; Grimes played the character the audience loved to hate and did so with care and talent.

The set was simple, utilising two wooden chairs, two pillows and a red blanket which were all used to create different items throughout the production. Each actor used their skill to manipulate the set and to create what they needed, including the iconic sex couch.

‘Untitled Relationship Experiment’ was an intriguing night out filled with hilarity and comedy. This production was completely unhinged and they didn’t hold back. The team brought the notion of hidden conversations to the forefront, filling the audience with laughter from start to finish.

Brisbane Improv Festival ended on Saturday 19 November 2022 at Big Fork Theatre. For more information visit their website.

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