Saturday February 14, 2009 / 10:00pmSecret Improv Society
General Admittance Special (Limit 2)
How was your experience?
The performers were friendly and enthusiastic, so I was cheering for them to do a good show, but sadly, they did not. Aside from two "visiting" performers (Jenn Chou and Lisa Rowland) the others were no better than your friends trying to "improv" at a party. Considering this was a for-pay performance, I would have expected much better. For example, a couple of the "skits" involved no input at all from the audience or any other surprises. While I assume they were made up on the fly, they could just as easily have been pre-written. Imagine walking into a show and watching a (relatively poor) skit performed. Without the excitement of watching them "think on their feet", you've basically got a boring skit. Also, they did NOT feed well off of each other. For example, one performer said something like, "Oh no, you've got my gun!", to which the other performer promptly responded, "And I've got some keys too" and then he went on to make his pre-planned jokes about keys, rather than feeding off of the first guy's suggestion that there was a gun in the scene. It really didn't seem much like improvising at all. In another skit, whenever the MC yelled "song queue", the performer was supposed to take the last word he had just uttered and turn it into a song. So if he had just said, "I'll move the car down the street", and the queue was called, he was expected to spontaneously come up with a song about "Streets". However, instead, each time the queue was called, the improviser did nothing more than repeat the last whole sentence he had just uttered, over and over again, to music: "I'll moooove the caaaar down the street. Oh yes, I'll mooooove the caaar down the steee'et." How is that entertaining? One "game" I was really looking forward to was where they took an object from the audience and were each supposed to rapid-fire treat it like a prop and make a funny comment. For the show I saw, they were using a cork screw opener. After a few very slow and well throught out jokes (there was NO rapid fire... sometimes you had to wait in silence 5 or 10 seconds before the next performer grabbed the object to make a line, hardly "improv" so much as deliberate thought) two of the performers decided to call the cork screw an engagement ring, and then the next ten minutes was spent with them acting out a story about being engaged, again, nothing improvisational about it. A skit about being engaged did not require any input or surprises and just as likely felt pre-planned. Overall, the performers were very kind and friendly (their pre-show warm-up was a joy!), so I was truly rooting for them to do a good job, but sadly, they did not. If you want to watch some friendly folks ramble around a stage, then go enjoy this show. But if you are looking for some sort of improvisational action, then this is definitely NOT the troupe to see. Sorry. p.s. The guy doing the music was AMAZING. He was perhaps the only true improvisational performer up there. How he managed to come up with all those songs and sounds to set the mood is beyond me. Kudos to that fella!