Toronto’s Bloody Marys, Portland’s Broke Gravy among this year’s Vancouver Improv Festival guests

Toronto’s The Bloody Marys.

Improvised TED Talks, naughty puppets, twisted sci-fi dystopia and more are on the docket of this year’s Vancouver International Improv Festival.

Out-of-town performers include The Future from Philadelphia, Broke Gravy from Portland, Rapid Fire Theatre from Edmonton. Local improv stars such as Hip.Bang! and The Fictionals are also taking part.

All told, the 19th edition of the festival, has 40 performances scheduled during its Oct. 11-14 on Granville Island. Here’s a look at some of the acts.

Summerland (Los Angeles)—Described as “whimsical,” this LA duo specializes in long­form improv. According to their bio, “They [Ellie Race­-Moore and Ryan Kelly Coil] create a show that syncs grounded reality with absolute joy and silliness while constantly making discoveries at full speed based on nothing but a single audience suggestion.”

Summerland at the 2016 Stumptown Improv Festival.

King Ricky (Portland)—Another long-form improv team, King Ricky is comprised of experienced performers from theatress throughout Portland. The team’s approach is a blend of the philosophies of Upright Citizens Brigade in New York and the iO improv theatre in Chicago, along with a Portland sensibility.

Broke Gravy (Portland)—Three guys, all from different parts of the U.S., find themselves forming an improv comedy team in Portland. Their work comes in two improv formats: one called James Earl Jones, the other Whatchu Wanna Know.

Broke Gravy by @chelseapetrakisphotography.

Bloody Marys (Toronto)—Compromised of Second City Toronto Mainstage Alumni Leigh Cameron and Kirsten Rasmussen. “Dark, physical, goofy and hilarious,” says their bio. From a Portland Mercury review of their set at this year’s Stumptown Improv Festival: “The highlight of the show’s opening performance came from Blood Marys… Rasmussen and Cameron were especially skilled at carrying through their varied, bizarre storylines, which included an extended bit about ghosts and tapeworms, and Rasmussen, in a ~*haunted theater*~ scene, came up with what is arguably the best description of what a solo show really is—’There’ll be a spotlight and I’ll just talk.'” (Btw, the Mercury writer also says: “Always see the Canadian duos, especially if they are women-only; they are usually the best.”)

The Fictionals (Vancouver)—For their VIIF 2017 performances, this Vancouver troupe “celebrates the little wins and big victories of the VIIF 2017 audience” in a show it’s calling “Success Circle.” According to, “During the week of the festival and before their performance, the improvisers will collect true success stories from performers, volunteers and comedy fans. Then they will use these real-life triumphs to inspire a comedy celebration!”

For ticket info, guest bios, venue info and a complete schedule, visit


Tagged: , ,

Comments are closed for this post

Comments are closed.