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Jane Austen-inspired improv comedy show bringing the laughs

Campbell WilliamsonNarrogin Observer
Actors Esther Longhurst and Jessica Messenger will be flying by the seat of their pants again this Friday.
Camera IconActors Esther Longhurst and Jessica Messenger will be flying by the seat of their pants again this Friday. Credit: James Breen

Narrogin will tomorrow night play host to a comedy improvisation duo that have been wowing audiences for the best part of seven years.

Jessica Messenger and Esther Longhurst will be performing Sense and Spontaneity, a Jane Austen-inspired improvised comedy show that changes with every audience in every location.

Here, nothing is scripted and nothing pre-planned, with audiences providing the cues for both actors, who have no choice but to make them work.

“The show is different every time,” Messenger said.

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“There’s that sense you’re on a high wire and you could fall at any time and people are with you.

“The audience is watching something magical and terrifying.”

Jessica Messenger in Sense and Spontaneity.
Camera IconJessica Messenger in Sense and Spontaneity. Credit: James Breen

But the risk of failure does not appear to be a problem for either Messenger or Longhurst.

“I could not tell you how many shows and seasons and festivals we’ve performed in over these last seven years,” Messenger said.

“The audience are watching you and waiting for you to fall, and when you do fall they realise that it’s safe and it’s hilarious.

“Failing happily is a core part of improvisation.

“When you fail, you learn to fail happily. It’s like Bob Ross’s happy little accidents.”

The play Sense and Spontaneity.
Camera IconThe play Sense and Spontaneity.

Over its run, these happy little improvisational accidents have resulted in the birth of “improv babies”, rapping poetry and a surprise appearance from Batman.

Messenger said the idea for the show came when the pair were relaxing together.

“We were playing with our kids and we started putting on stupid Jane Austen voices,” she said.

“And we looked up and half an hour had gone by, and all of our children were in the backyard out jumping on a trampoline and we'd just been making this play by ourselves.”

The show’s stellar run reflects its popularity for all age groups.

“People who love Jane Austen love the show but it doesn’t exclude people,” Messenger said.

“There’s so much room to play and be silly, sending people up because they’re frivolous or shallow.”

For more information, contact Arts Narrogin.

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