Improv Adelaide’s Upstairs Downton

Improv Adelaide Upstairs Downton Adelaide Fringe 2019Soapi Improv. The Duke of Windsor Hotel – The Adelaide Room. 16 Feb 2019


My wife is a big fan of the British period pieces - bonnet dramas I call them. In play here is improvised shellacking of the classic TV series, Upstairs Downstairs, Downton Abbey and Gosford Park dealing with the increasingly archaic British aristocracy and their more down-to-earth staff in lovely country houses during the reign of Edward VII to after WWI.


My night was Episode 2, so a pamphlet was on my seat explaining what happened in Episode 1 which played the night before. After some audience suggestions on how to proceed, the cast made up the rest on the spot. For an hour. While extremely funny initially, a sort of routine sets in and the laughs taper off. Leader of the troupe, Eden Trebilco came off a bit strident and was the only player to initiate violence and the flinging of projectiles, which were swatted away by the rest of the cast. Curtis Shipley managed some moving moments which were welcome changes of pace. Paul Gordon and Kirsty Wigg were most like the real deal and Joshua Kapitza was a sweet performer and a great thinker on his feet. You sensed the edginess of nobody knowing what was going to happen next, with laughs about the plot line and Brechtian exposure of how it’s all done. Theme music was very helpful.


What Soapi Improv’s blurb doesn’t say is that they are producing three episodes – over three consecutive nights - making a continuous story, just like on TV, so they might have prepared the tragics to go to all three – an opportunity missed.


If you can’t see Episode 3 on 17 February, associate improvised entertainment shows, A Total Cop Out, Quest Time and Improvised Improv are also part of the Fringe.


David Grybowski

3 stars


When: 15 to 17 Feb

Where: The Duke of Windsor Hotel – The Adelaide Room


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