Raiders of the Lost Improv


Dates and Venue 26 March – 2 May 2008 @ 7.30 pm | New Revue Stage, Granville Island


Reviewer Ed Farolan

What a hilarious show for the audience that laughed and cheered during the gala night performance last April 3rd of this Raiders improv spoof! Even the smirk in the face of Windemere “Windy” Stones (Ted Cole) was utterly a copycat spoof version of Harrison Ford’s.  I could have sworn he looked exactly like the young Ford when he played Indiana Jones decades ago!

Another character, the empty-tobacco, pipe-smoking villain, Bollocks (Ken Lawson), was totally funny.  He walked funny, he looked funny, he talked funny...even when he played a frog and other animals in this improv, he was just funny, funny, funny. 

Marion Ravenloon (Denise Jones) was incredibly a loonie. The scene when she tried to swim the soup-fire river with Stones at her back was just crazy.  The supporting characters themselves were "supportive", although sometimes they would whisper their lines too inaudibly low or interrupt the main gist of a dialogue by the main characters. But, what do you expect in an improv?  I think even the medieval Italian actors in the commedia dell’arte had the same problem.

But for what it’s worth, VTSL Executive Director Jay Ono ( Jay Leno in disguise? ) and his gang of improv comics have hung on these 20 or more years to bring insane humour to Vancouver audiences  in their mainstay Revue Stage at Granville Island, spoofing Shakespeare, Star Trek, and other golden icons of TV and Literature.

The interesting thing about improvs is that everyday, it’s a different show.  The three pivotal characters Windemere "Windy" Stones (Ted Cole); Marion Ravenloon (Denise Jones), and Bollocks (Ken Lawson) remain the same throughout the run. But if you check this site, the supporting characters change every day. 

In the gala show, Taz Vanrassel, David Milchard, Nathan Clark and Noah Lepawsky played the supporting roles.  They were a delight to the tickle bone. Likewise, the theme of each performance also changes because at the beginning of the show, the audience is asked what legendary mythical treasure has to be discovered, and in the version I watched, someone in the audience suggested “a wooden fork”, and so,from then on, the hunt for the wooden fork takes us from the Vikings to the forests of Venezuela. 

Fantastic improvisers, as former BC Premier Van der Zalm would have said.  I’d be curious, though, to find out what the next treasure hunts would be all about.

© 2008 Ed Farolan