The comedy scene in Penang is a recent phenomenon, but its relative youth is no reflection on its quality. PPIC, Penang Players Improv Club, is one product of this development, active since 2017. The club performs once every month, and their shows are led by Leon Bukowski who previously ran an improv group in the UK.
If you think that PICC’s improv comedy shows will follow the hackneyed ‘yes, and’ format, then you’d be wrong. In reality, their shows consist of a variety of different games, all of which centre around audience suggestions, whether these suggestions determine certain characters, situations, or lines of dialogue. Such a variety of formats test the performers under pressure, ensure fresh new content every performance — and most importantly, produce hilarious results.
One section might be a classic guess-who format, in which two blindfolded mystics guess the characters, suggested by the audience, that are acted out. Another might be a dialogue exchange in which every sentence has to begin with the next letter of the alphabet — something which will scramble your brain as an audience member, let alone as a performer.
The group typically performs in smaller, more intimate venues like Jetty By The Sea or The Soundmakers Studio (venues vary from show to show) which work well for the interaction between performers and audience. The breaking of the fourth-wall is done to a perfect degree: the great rapport between the performers and the expert direction of Leon Bukowski promises a comfortable atmosphere and proactive interaction on the part of the audience.
The result? A hilarious — although admittedly not always ‘family friendly’ — show that will have you crying with laughter while wondering how the performers think so quickly on their feet.
Tickets to PPIC shows are usually RM20. You can check the date of their next performance on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ImprovPPIC/
If you’re interested in learning how to improvise yourself, then the group welcomes all to join their weekly practice on Thursdays: message them on Facebook to find out more.