By Stephanie Biela

As I usually stay away from anything resembling a Hallmark-themed title, the Vancouver TheatreSports League’s dreaded Valentine’s Day “massacre” is definitely a ‘holiday’ show that piqued my interest. Consequently, I’m not one for gore, but I’d rather see a severed ring finger inside a heart-shaped box of chocolates than sit through two hours of Hugh Grant; so I decided to head down to Granville Island to give the Valentine’s-themed show a chance.

Vancouver TheatreSports League

To my surprise, this was the 22nd Annual Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre; which makes me wonder why I’ve missed out for the last 21 years. It must be that I’ve deliberately steered away from anything “V” word related at the beginning of each year, due to previous bouts of February dating depression. Either way, shame on me, because this humble league proved their stage rights to me on Friday night without the use of gore, sap or vulgarity.

At the beginning of the evening, when I walked through the theatre doors at the New Revue Stage, I found that there were a number of young children in the audience. Having my apprehensions about G-Rated humour, I quickly realized that the thing about comedy is that it doesn’t have to be dirty, or “blue” as the professionals call the more sordid styles, to be funny. Apparently, so did the children. The audience, both children and adults laughed at, well . . . everything; the contagious exuberance and delight filled the room and before long, I felt ill with amusement.

The two teams that graced me with their lithe physical humour and cutting, intellectual wit were “Sausage and Eggs” and “Luscious Drifters.” Both teams were very pleasant to watch, however, “Luscious Driters” helmed by Captain Pearce Visser – who was an unbelievable life saver for a couple of the cricket-chirping moments – ranked slightly higher on my personal comedic scale. As for the cricket-chirping moments, they were few and far between as the two teams, ultimately reliant on scene suggestions from the audience, competed mercilessly to decapitate their opponents with their razor-sharp wits. Improv performers rely primarily on two assets: audience participation and their unconscious comedic instinct. Irregardless of the extreme level of danger and unpredictability, with the help of these two primary assets, the improv players at the Vancouver TheatreSports League were able save themselves from being massacred by the audience’s ruthless suggestions.

With imitations of Cupid, that smug angel that we love to hate, Swedish accents and epic bouts of physical humour, whether you have a date or not, you’re sure to have an excellent time. So, be it as a group, as a duo or even if you’re flying solo, you’ll thank me for my suggestion when you realize that St. Valentine and his comedy companions are the perfect contradiction to a blisteringly sappy time of year.

Performance Dates: Jan. 28th-Feb. 15th, 2009

If you would like UQ Events to attend and cover a live performance in Vancouver, please send us an email.


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