Impro-Vivor: Vancouver TheatreSports League on Granville Island
By Megan Ejack
Vancouver TheatreSports League has announced its addition to their spring season… the love-child of Improv and reality TV, also known as Improvivor Granville Island, a production loosely based on the pioneer reality-show phenomenon, Survivor. Thus, a new genre of comedy is born- where tacky TV games meet the original unscripted performance.
Within a well-crafted structure of sound and lighting cues, a revolving cast of talented improvisers takes the audience through a cutthroat ‘episode’ of performance survival. After a choreographed entrance and a brief introduction to the concept of the show and the characters, aided by the audience’s suggestions, the games are on.
The jokes are fun, and the atmosphere festive, creating a collective party vibe; and along with the ongoing participation from the audience, we are ALL part of the action unfolding onstage.
As the show develops, the players must fight for their survival in scenes which utilize the most tried and true of all theatre sports games- (my personal favourite will always be the one where they try and speak at the exact same time) – and although the initial ideas are, in part, handed out from an array of audience suggestions, they all stepped up like the pros they are and brought an abundance of witty offers to the table.
There were the usual challenges with keeping up with foreign accents and staying in character, but the actors maintained an openness with each other throughout the show which made it easy to relax and laugh WITH them, as necessary. It was a pleasure to watch.
I think what makes this show so successful is the careful balance of artistic freedom contained within a technical structure, which allowed the scenes to be slightly less chaotic than they might otherwise have been. Not to mention the wicked soundtrack. And with more security than a Britney Spears concert, you’d better secure your tickets soon.
Improvivor runs Thursday through Saturday until the end of April. Shows are 90 minutes, beginning at 7:30 pm at the New Revue Stage, on Granville Island.