Now that everyone’s favourite gotta-sing-gotta-dance TV series is resting its vocal cords for the summer, it’s the perfect time to catch this riotously funny production by the Vancouver TheatreSports League on Granville Island.
I recently discovered cheek muscles I didn’t know I had after attending one of the regular TheatreSports improv nights on a whim. I’d forgotten I could laugh that hard.
So when I showed up at the new 186-seat studio theatre for the opening of the The Improv Musical last night I thought it only fair that I should lower my laughter expectations. I mean, you can’t crack a rib every night now can you?
Evidently, you can.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a light show-tune user or a hard-core Broadway addict–you’re going to love the high you get off this clever show.
It starts, as every other TheatreSports show does, with suggestions from the audience. In this case, the cast was looking for an occupation around which to build the story. Someone shouted “fireman”– and suddenly the hour-long musical, now titled Go to Blazes–was underway.
The miracle to the madness is that everything is made up on the fly: the plot lines, the songs, the dances (such as they were), even the lighting. I don’t know how the pianist, Glen Stevenson, did it–perhaps he was channeling Gershwin–but there was real magic happening on that stage.
Last night’s entirely-plausible-within-the-realm-of-a-musical storyline involved a female firefighter (Ellen Kennedy) whose ambition to be fire chief is undermined by a chauvinistic colleague (Shaun Stewart).
Although he makes a deal with an arsonist (Michael Robinson) to bring her down, her pluckiness–not to mention the steadfast affection of another male colleague (Alan Marriott)–ensures her eventual success.
Worth the price of admission ($12.99)?
Way cheaper than anti-depressants.
And if you are very lucky, you will find yourself in the shower the next day–as I did this morning–singing eminently memorable riffs such as: “Flames…you gotta put them down, ’cause if you don’t the people will frown.”
There are just five more performances before the end of August. C’mon, get happy…