It was a packed house for the opening night of Firecracker! at the Vancouver Theatre Sports League on Granville Island. A stellar cast of female improvisers took the stage and I was immediately impressed by their presence, words, quick wit, and ability to roll with the punches. The show's hosts kept the audience engaged throughout the show, and the entire cast connected brilliantly to each other, and to the audience.
Each performer started off by sharing a unique fact about themselves with the audience, and I must say that this technique was a good way to hook us. The hilarity snow-balled from this moment on with jokes and stabs at celebrities’ twitter feeds. The particular show I attended guest-starred Miss 604 blogger and social media expert Rebecca Bollwitt, and focussed on women in Vancouver and Social Media—you can see the line-up of future guest stars on the Theatre Sports website. Stories told through comedy from an all-women perspective … it’s genius and super relevant!
As it goes with improv, the audience was asked to yell out suggestions for things to be incorporated into the skits (this is by far the best part of improv). The hosts did a great job of pulling the audience into the acts with back and forth banter and come-backs.
What I really loved about the performance was the blend of unique voices. Everyone brought something different to the stage. I was taken aback by how powerful these women appeared on stage and immediately thought: yes this is what women should be doing, and improv is a great medium to bring it all together.
My one criticism would be the lack of visible diversity on the stage, but as they do rotate their performers with each show, this may not be a consistent thing.
The show ended with an on stage YouTube make up tutorial and this was the funniest thing I have even seen happen live. The ladies were on the ball and took whatever the audience threw at them. My fourteen-year-old daughter (who normally isn’t impressed with anything) was laughing hysterically and having a really great time. If a show can successfully speak to a room of people ranging in age from pre-teen to retirement, well then I would say that’s pretty darn good.
Chelene Knight is the author of Braided Skin and the managing editor of Room magazine.