Eight improvisers, four musicians, and four lighting technicians working together to showcase a musical created on the spot – what could possibly go wrong? Off Key: An Improvised Musical debuted Wednesday at Upintheair Theatre’s rEvolver Theatre Festival, unleashing an hour’s worth of song, drama, and synchronized dance moves on the crowd at East Vancouver’s The Cultch.
The format, as is common in improv, starts with a suggestion. “We begin the show by asking the audience for a title,” says Jennifer Pielak, founder, Artistic Director and cast member of Oﬀ Key Improv, “and then ride that train wherever it takes us.” That’s always a risky departure, but the cast of improviser kept things mostly on the rails opening night.
Pastel-clad and totally adorable, the cast journeyed through dramatic dialogue, slow songs, fast songs, spotlights and cymbal hits. Wednesday’s story revolved around the Wit-Waddler, a dictator with a silly walk and his decision to outlaw everything funny. The characters and narrative were skillfully woven, but the theme of persecuting laughter felt a bit like the joyous part was missing. Almost like if The Sound of Music was edited down to only the Nazi part. Luckily it’s improv, and entirely new story comes together with each performance.
It’s a talented gang of performers, musicians, and lighting pros having fun and singing their little hearts out, so it’s worth a witness. Check out Off Key Improv at their next Vancouver performance.
Second Storey Theatre
201-2550 Shaughnessy Street, Vancouver
Sat June 14 @ 10pm