The original Calendar Girls








Impro-Vivor & Stretch

Dates and Venue 11-28 March @ 7.30pm | New Revue Stage (Granville Island)

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Boy, what a funny show! From start to finish, these improvisers with tongue-in-cheek improvisations, satirized the ever-popular reality TV series, "Survivor". Chris, Denise, Taz, Michael and the rest--you guys were just hilarious. The sound effects team and lighting director -- you really were testing the actors if they could get right there on cue!
Based on the widely popular series, this improvisation takes off with a set similar to the TV show. Survivors are stranded in Granville Island and whoever survives wins Free Parking in the island. This is really funny because I had my car towed a number of times and I was happy to see these actors and the audience participating angrily at the parking situation in Granville Island.

The show also pokes fun at Emily Carr, one of Granville Island's sacred institutes. The immunity necklace that goes to the best improviser is made of crabs and seashells. That was really a poke!
The audience was wild in last Saturday's performance. It was a full house, surprisingly. In the last shows I've been, the house is usually around half full. But, boy, was the crowd really participating to the point that the improvisers couldn't decide what suggestions to take for their themes.

I've been reviewing shows by this group since "Star Trick", and they're getting better as the years go by. I guess Jay Ono is doing a good job because he's keeping most of his talents, so I guess, whether it's love for improvisation, or he simply has that magnetic Manson touch, the group is still staying intact.
Congrats, fellows, and looking forward to see your next show!

Stretch was somewhat stretchy. It seemed to me like pure improv in the sense that there was no set theme and, like a training class for improvisation, the actors made up themes as they stretched along. I still prefer improv shows with themes, such as Impro-Vivor where actors improvise dialogues but within the main theme.

With Stretch, after being suggested by one of the members of the audience on opening night to improvise a scene between tenant and landlord, the first two who acted were okay, but when they were tagged by the others to congtinue the scene, they started wandering about, talking about cocaine, Russian opera, suicide from a ledge, the Mafia, etc., putting on different accents which most of the time were inaudible and hard to understand, as the actors were mumbling most of their lines.

I think the basic rule in acting is to enunciate clearly, whether it's improv or not. I was sitting at the back, and although the audience enjoyed the show because most had drinks on hand from the bar, I couldn't make out most of what the actors were saying. Another rule in theatre is to hold for laughs, and most of the time, the improvisers would start off while the audience was still laughing.

These are just a few thoughts that came to my mind as I watching this particular improv that had no direction. Perhaps it was meant to stretch that way, a free-for-all improv, which might be interesting for some, but not really for me, as I prefer a more focused and disciplined show with some kind of a main theme.


© 2009 Ed Farolan