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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

First glimpse of improv troupes before auditions

Published: September 5, 2014
Section: Arts, Etc.

Chum’s hosted the annual Improv Showcase on Wednesday, Sept. 3, featuring False Advertising, Bad Grammer, Crowd Control and TBA. Despite having to sit in a hot and crowded room for an hour, the show was quite enjoyable and the actors gave a commendable performance.

False Advertising was the first group to perform. This group is the only group that does musical improv in addition to the more standard, longer improvised skits. False Advertising began the night with a long-form game where the audience picked the subject, which turned out to be: happiness balls. They then performed a short improvised musical called “We Are Westside.” Although they struggled to stay on topic and create a clear plotline for their performance, there were a few funny references to the musical “Wicked.” The actors who took on the roles as the witches of the North and South got the audience laughing and had great chemistry.

The next group to perform was Bad Grammer, which does short-form action comedy. Their first game was called Good Twin/Evil Twin, where there are two characters performed by four actors. Although the subject matter of this game was not particularly witty, the performers did a good job using physical comedy and the audience seemed to enjoy the show. Bad Grammer also played three more games: Ding, Cube and the Line Game. In the cube challenge, four different scenes must be performed simultaneously in a cube formation, the most notable being about Sodexo. The actors did a great job of poking fun at Brandeis in a way students could relate to. The audience laughed as the improv group performed a scene with Andrew Flagel running around naked. The Line Game included making jokes starting with the phrase, “I like my women like I like my lightbulbs.” Although a few of these jokes became a little too crude for some of the audience members, other members of the group were able to move the game along quickly without offending too many people.

Crowd Control also started off their performance with a Line Game including the phrase, “I make love like I kayak, Skype and shop.” They did a really good job entertaining the crowd with their one liners, and most of them weren’t as inflammatory as those performed by Bad Grammer. The group then performed a long-form routine titled Ropes Courses. Their bizarre performance involved beatboxing and steps to being a good rapper. Everyone really seemed to enjoy this performance and although the play itself wasn’t cohesive, it was successful in garnering laughs.

TBA was the finale act. Their first game was called Menage à Trois, where there was a trio of scenes, each with two actors. The scenes were about being in a bathroom in Cambodia, a friend abandoning her friend in the brass section to play violi and two men in an ambiguous relationship. The most successful of these was the one with the two “boyfriends,” who were able to use clever innuendos about sex, like “make pad thai on the bed.” TBA’s next game was called Serenade Showdown, where two of the members used information about a first-year sitting in the audience to convince him to go on a date with them. The actors also used random words picked by the audience as part of their improv, such as “bananas.” Their last game was a long form about unicycles, and they stayed on topic for the most part.

Overall, the Improv Showcase was an enjoyable night. This week, the troupes are holding their auditions, hoping to see more faces after their performances.