A solid crowd came out the past two Sundays to support the completely improvised mini-series Broken River at Montreal Improv. So far, it’s been two nights of a lingering murder mystery, with the sights and sounds of a real “corpse” on stage and police sirens and radio chatter creeping up the space before the actors even appear.
The characters that popped up out of the imagination of the talented cast ranged from a hilarious small-town sheriff to an out-of-control brother-in-law to a relentless FBI agent. It’s a credit to the director and cast that each performer gets a chance to add on to the developing story and reveal a small piece of what their character’s all about at every scene change.
Here are some highlights:
Sheriff Ed Stubbs (Vance Gillis)
Local Sheriff Stubbs is “technically 44” and has a penchant for spilling barbecue sauce on his pants. He’s the first on the scene to discover the body. He finds one item in particular near the body – a kazoo. He also identifies the victim as Bruce “The Moose” Angstrom. In Episode 2, his attachment to milkshakes provides more clues about who the killer is, but also gets him in a bit of hot water with the Mayor.
Special Agent Denise Carver (Lar Vi)
Agent Carver arrives on a mission to prove herself as a young, first-year FBI recruit. She interrogates everyone in town with piercing intensity. In Episode 2, her detective work leads to a prime suspect, Boyd Duffy, but she almost ruins things by giving away too much to Stubbs’ ex-wife, Gail, at her B&B, Under the Rainbow.
Gail (Kyla Margaret)
Sheriff Stubbs’ lonely and increasingly unstable ex-wife, Gail, has a special connection to Bruce Angstrom. Gail admits she’s the owner of the kazoo, but insists that she has no idea how it got to Bruce. Her secret is that Bruce visited her the night he died, and she followed him on her bike to tell him that he’s the son she gave up for adoption when she was 15! In Episode 2, Gail warns her brother, Boyd, that the cops are after him, but she refuses to give him the last of her petty cash because even she’s not sure if he killed her son or not.
Boyd Duffy (James McGee)
Temperamental Boyd has a deep dislike of Sheriff Ed, who he blames for making Gail go off the deep end. Boyd also has a criminal record and shady dealings in town. At his girlfriend, Crystal’s bar, The Jug, he gets into a heated exchange with Ed that sees him hauled off to jail to spend the night. In Episode 2, he confesses to Crystal that he was involved in selling drugs with Bruce before he died.
Crystal (Ariel De Roo)
Crystal dated Bruce Angstrom in high school and saw him three days before he was found dead. In Episode 2, she gives Sheriff Ed and Carver an alibi for the night Bruce died while secretly planning to skip town with Boyd.
Mayor Barb Wheeler (Kyla Margaret)
The scheming politician makes her first appearance in Episode 2 and is a master manipulator. She has Boyd wrapped around her finger, secretly using his drug money with Bruce to fund her latest mayoral campaign. She also gives Sheriff Ed an ultimatum, that he must close the Angstrom case before she’s up for re-election or he’s fired.
Broken River’s next installment happens on Sunday November 16 at Montreal Improv (3697 Boulevard Saint-Laurent) at 8:30 pm. Tickets: $8 (available at the door). For more information, click HERE