Garam Masala, the final winners. Photo by Deshan Tennekoon
Act Before You Think had it’s final last night. Quite a good show. Improv, especially when it involves singing, is scary as shit. All the teams that got to the finals did well, the final two were excellent, and the winner led throughout.
In a way, the outcome was apparent from the moment the teams took the stage. Ahindas was dressed like themselves, Dishum Dishoom was wearing knee high socks and capes, but Garam Masala strode up there to ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ with sunglasses, LED belts, boxing gloves and general panache. They never looked back.
The mostly Muslim Ahindas got a bit thrown off re-enacting the Three Little Pigs story though they had the best performance on the no-hands segment (where one person controls the hands while a guy in front talks). Many of the skits quickly ended up into sexual humor or physical flailing, but quite a few had a bit more depth.
The tall guy in Garam Masala (Benjamin Aluwihare) was consistently entertaining. The best skit of the night, I thought, was where they re-enacting three blind mice in 20, 15 and I think 5 seconds. In that limited time frame he still managed to slip in a line about ‘three dead mice’ which was rare, a timed punchline. Throughout the former lead of Rondo was comfortable and even excited to be on stage, no mean feat in Improv.
His team were no slouches either. One played a chair with some intensity and revealed some good shirtless breakdancing at the end. Dishum Dishoom, the runners-up, also had some good physicality, one girl did the splits and the other was a convincing flirt with Dracula. The two boys in that team were good, but one fellow had actually been great on their prior show.
The show was tense, cringe-worthy once, and a really good time for everyone. It was well-organized, but the hosts, Tracy Holsinger and Brandom Ingram were relaxed and themselves laughing to tears when they had to participate in the no-hands skits (which inevitably turn to some sort of groping). They also had the flexibility to add another round by crowd demand and to not add more rounds when it was time to end.
The last number was a dance-off, different dance styles to mismatched music. Drunken Sri Lankan Uncle and Kandyan set to Dubstep were great, and a great way to end the show.
Thanks to everyone involved, it is no easy feat, but a far step removed from the often derivative and dull theatre that Colombo has seen. This was open to anyone, open to anything, and the result was good fun.
Act Before You Think is a yearly show by Mind Adventures (Facebook, Twitter) at the Warehouse Project. This is a warehouse in Maradana that supports cultural events and the mostly shanty community around it. They do education, food programs, art, and generally push to mix the two sides of Colombo. They’re doing great work and are looking for volunteers.
The event was sponsored by Etisalat. I mention this not for statutory reasons, but because without corporate support these type of events can’t exist, so they should get their props. They have an Rs 11,000 smartphone with Sinhala typing support (rare, Android browser doesn’t even render) and a tab. I also heard some chaps from Google are being brought down to demo stuff.