Ah, the world of Improv. During the bad times, audience members squirm in their chairs like they’re back in elementary school and the teacher keeps accidentally scratching her nails against the chalkboard. But during the good times, it can be magical, and almost unbelievable that performers can come up with ideas in the moment to tell a story and make the audience laugh.
As is the case with most improvised theatre, The Washington Improv Theatre’s production of The Audio Files, was a mixture of both those good and bad times.
The production consisted of two shows. The first,Washington Improv Radio Theatre (WIRT), is an improvised old detective drama that has the cast sitting in the dark with old detective radio show music playing in the background.
The cast did a perfectly fine job of creating a story around the audience suggestions. The only problem was the story wasn’t all that funny. Many times the cast spoke on top of each other and it seemed like it was difficult for them to get into a rhythm. Having said that, a couple of audience members were laughing throughout the performance, and towards the end I thought they had some pretty funny moments.
The second show, The Score, uses an audience member’s iPod to inspire scenes. For example, when Kanye Wests “Golddigger” came on, four performers improvised a scene in a salon getting their hair, make-up, and nails done, while a flamboyant male hair dresser did their hair. The hair dresser then proceeds to do a dance move that I can only describe as a mixture of an awkward robot, the worm, and Derek Zoolander’s model face “Blue Steel”.
Perhaps it was because I had been sitting in the dark for the last half hour during WIRT, the scenes improvised in The Score had me and the audience laughing pretty consistently. However, there were also some pretty awkward scenes to get through (nobody expects that every scene will work), and it would have been nice if the cast recognized when a scene wasn’t good and skipped to the next song quicker. Overall though, it was entertaining.
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