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May 5, 2008 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Improv Angels

Improv Angels
At Bats
April 24-26

“They’ll never know we’re not children!” – An Improv Angel breaking into a treehouse (by way of a sand pit) to save the world from snow and generosity.

There were several points while watching The Improv Angels when I laughed so hard I couldn’t see. And I wasn’t alone. Which, really, is all you need to know.

With apologies for lazy deconstructionism, it needs to be said just how improv, as both a form and a genre, makes something of a mockery of any attempt to analyze or criticise it to any deep or worthwhile degree. It so quickly and easily answers the key questions which one so normally asks of any theatre piece. What is it trying to do? Entertain. Does it succeed? Yes. Is that worth doing in the first place? Of course. I mean, how can you hate being entertained? It is what separates us from the animals and the morally inept.

So, what is there to say about The Improv Angels other than that on a scale of one to entertaining it punches in at rather hilarious and very worth your time? Really we are left with the hows and the whys. And ‘why’ is a much too depressing question to ask in any situation at best. So we’re stuck with ‘how’. How?! How is it so funny? Well, of course, blame for the funny needs to be squarely laid at the feet of the Angels themselves who, along with their Charley (Clare Kerrison) and Musician cum Bosley (whose name I sadly didn’t manage to catch over the rapturous applause), are a veritable squadron of wonderful. They clearly are the kind of improv machine that is so tightly wound and well-oiled that everything that comes out of it seems completely spontaneous, out of control and alive.

It is this final point – the aliveness – that is the most important. Improv is the only form of comedy where, I believe, its faults are its stimulus. To get a bit ‘wanky’ on you, Antony Sher in his book Year of the King (which is very probably the second greatest book on the acting process ever written and if you love theatre and haven’t read it you, to quote Chris Morris, are both wrong and a grotesquely ugly human being) asks ‘Why is an actor’s unintentional giggling called a ‘corpse’? It seems to me quite the opposite. It proves that they’re very much alive, and can still tell how silly this all is.’

Herein lies the very key to improv for (with obvious and annoying exceptions) it is the only brand of theatre that really allows the actors to directly and completely acknowledge the sheer madness of what is actually going on. So, hooray for The Improv Angels. They’re doing something insane and they know it and you know it and that’s awesome and you should go.

What’s Hot

Check out Pick of the Fringe at Downstage and Tim and Andy:
An Adventure
at Bats.

Free Tickets

To celebrate Downstage’s season of Pick of the Fringe, which opens runs May 6 – 10, Salient has two free double passes to give away!

To win tickets to see March of the Meeklings, email theatre@ with the WACKIEST picture you can find, or to win tickets to Sensible Susan and the Queen’s Merkin, email with the most HILARIOUS joke you’ve ever heard.

Entries should be received by Tuesday afternoon, but if the tickets remain unclaimed, you might still be in with a shot later in the week. Hell, even if you’re not, we’ll still appreciate the laugh!


About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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