Last Saturday night, while the mercury started to drop and the streets of Montreal got chillier, the Mainline Theatre played host to the latest edition of WFIIA (Wild Fucking Improvisers in Action). The cozy space of the Mini Main stage felt particularly warm that night as the improvisers did their thing as the audience unburdened themselves of sweaters, hoodies and the little composure they brought with themselves. A packed room with dark walls and scorching stage illumination is now my official prescription for the icy days awaiting Montrealers.
Under the title of “Expansion”, this Plaid Thursday Production enlarged its cast of improvisers to six, in addition to the evening’s host and the musical staff. Originally performed at the St. Ambroise Fringe as “Whose F*** Is It Anyway?”, this improv bacchanal is quickly becoming a staple of Montreal’s comedy scene. The formula is pretty simple: gather your performers at the stage, get a personable host to administer improv games, add a sprinkling of musical cues and wait for the hilarious results.
As a long-standing fan of this show, your correspondent was pleased to see his favorite performers back in action. The high-pitch voice of fro-clad Lucas DiTecco, for instance, always reduces me to tears of laughter. Paired with the inventive performances of Lauren Stone, their forward/rewind number was one of the show’s highlights. Another game, helping hands, has Sean Colby improvise without using his hands, while Lauren steps behind him and makes her arms act as if they were his own. Needless to say that a combination of rebellious limbs and food on stage will inevitably result in a hysterical mess.
As for the evening’s newcomers, the physicality of Danielle Dalziel’s comedy quickly won the hearts of the public. Her rendition of a half slug, half crab superhero was particularly disarming. Kevin Black’s ability to change his voice was also used to great comical effect. Finally, the facial expressions of Laurent Pitre were intensely comical.
Despite their diverse talents, all the performers had one thing in common: the constant need to make jokes about the host, Kenny Streule. Maybe it’s because he was wearing a tux, maybe it was due to his quirky French idioms. I really couldn’t pin it down, but it seems that everybody, even the audience had the proclivity to make fun of him. For what it’s worth, Kenny seemed to enjoy it; and this was also another reason for making this a great improv show. I recommend this show to anyone who has an interest in improv, or for anybody who’s looking to laugh. The next version will take place on October 28th at the Wiggle Room, and will feature the cast of the upcoming Plaid Thursdays Production play Betty’s Summer Vacation.
Catch part of the cast in Vacation Improvisers at the Wiggle Room on October 28 at 8 p.m. $15