Vancouver TheatreSports
Merry Kissmas: A Royal Romance

Dates and Venue November 20 – December 24, 2019, Wed-Sat @ 7:30pm, matinees Dec 15, 21 & 22 @ 11:30am, Dec 24 @ 2pm | The Improv Centre, 1502 Duranleau St., Granville Island

Artistic Director Jay Ono Directors Margret Nyfors & Nathan Clark Concept Creation Margret Nyfors & Sarah Peretto Lighting Design Su Scarfe Sound Design Brendan Kelly Set Design Mo Sherwood

Reviewer Darren Cordeiro

Lights, action, laughter! At The Improv Centre anything goes and can happen live. And with this holiday themed show, it most certainly did… including a surprise audience marriage proposal on stage.

For the first act, the stage was set in the small European town of Improvanzia, where the royal prince and his suitors were complete with traditions of their spirited region to share with the audience through short form improv. With audience participation, hilarious skits were acted out including a re-enactment of a couple’s first date, ending with the real-life proposal and yes, engagement!

The last act used long form improv which is challenging to accomplish as the plot continues to grow and becomes complicated with the audience ideas. The actors nailed it, developing the royal prince’s pretend engagement to an audience member, complete with witty jokes, zany impersonations and electrifying energy.

They used callbacks, a joke that refers to one previously told in the set, in a clever manner which is difficult to accomplish as the set isn’t rehearsed with a script. This made the audience feel connected as part of these inside jokes. One example was the Christmas squirrel, the town’s mascot, who was developed in the first half and then reintroduced in the second half with the pun he would be performing online shopping over the holiday season.

The audience was engaged from start to finish which was apparent especially hearing their gasps during the live proposal. The audience was a mix of all ages and the laughter was consistent throughout the room from start to finish.

The theatre’s set was decorated with a holiday festive feel, showcasing the spirit of Improvanzia. The music complemented the set to reinforce the joy and cheer of the ‘kissmas’ season and the sound effects reinforced the various act outs, such as the cast playing hockey against each other.

‘Tis the season to loosen up, be silly and head over to the Improv Centre for a barrel of laughs!

© 2019 Darren Cordeiro