The Improv Centre

Camp What’s-It-Called

When & Where May 16 – July 13, 2024, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm | The Improv Centre on Granville Island. Tickets on sale at | Cast L-R/ Alex Parra, Mary Saunders, Cam Grant, Raf Rogers, Rachel Kent and Helen Camisa

Reviewer Darren Cordeiro

Nestled in the heart of Granville Island lies the quaint Improv Centre – a theatre whose only requirements are an open mind and to be prepared to laugh. Judging by the audience’s response to the opening night of “Camp What’s-It-Called”, the theatre and performers surely didn’t disappoint!

For those who don’t know what Improv is, it is similar to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel series where Improv cues the audience to provide the plot, led by the moderator. It is a special type of comedy as each performance is unique as the audience cues the prompts, so the plots are never the same from one event to the next.

The theme for this Improv series is Summer Camp, where the campers and camp director lead us through humorous skits about living out in the wilderness and saving the camp from being shut down due to financing issues.

The acting was on point and I was amazed at how performers could generate stories from simple cues from the audience, such as this camp is known for ‘pickling’ with the motto “Wash your hands before your eat!”

Audience engagement is key to Improv and based on the laughter that ensued, this was critically achieved. I especially enjoyed how they brought in an audience member to participate as a camper, which added an extra level of believability that it’s not a prescript and true improvisation.

The background set and camp counsellors’ costumes were very effective in creating the sense that the audience was in an actual camp. The backdrop was hand painted to the tune of a B.C. forest and all the campers and director wore attire you would expect for children in a summer camp, including the necked scarf tie!

The sound and music were impactful as it allowed the audience to feel they were at camp, such as the sound effects when a camper pretended to skip a rock or the upbeat interlude music between scenes.

With Vancouver’s energy at an all-time high with the Playoff Canucks game on opening night, I came to the theatre after a long day of work hoping that I would get a similar energy jolt from the performance. I certainly did. More importantly, I left the theatre feeling invigorated from the energy of the audience and performers. I realized how important the inclusiveness of local community and arts are during these trying times.

If you’re looking for a fun night out in a beautifully situated venue, head over to Granville Island. Again, the only requirement is that you’re prepared to laugh!

© 2024 Darren Cordeiro