LAST MAN STANDING — Improv XPress at The Grand Theatre

Last man Standing began with a remarkable cast of thirteen performers, plus at the helm David Ash as usual.  Some were very experienced, others in their first significant show.   Having seen various members of the troupe in other combinations lately I notice and admire how well they work together as improvisers.   Cues and subtle aids are passed from performer to performer, sometimes gracefully and almost imperceptible, sometimes flamboyantly and with wit.

On this occasion the structure was a competition, with points awarded to each scene based on audience response.  Fortunately tonight there was a reasonable audience, with more than one member of the team having her vocal fan club present.  So, with just a few early moments of hesitancy things went smoothly.

If I hadn’t known some of those on stage it would be difficult to say who was veteran and who the novice.  Nor did some performers or strong personalities seem to inhibit or intimidate their colleagues.

There was plenty on stage to admire in this line up.  Smooth transition, quick reactions, clever response and performance.  Much more than that, or as a consequence of that probably, this was a very funny show.  There was slapstick in Trevor’s exuberant pratfalls, bawdy humour (Colette getting lewd in the libary) and much general absurdism enough to have even the more po-faced in stitches.  In deed it was noticeable just how much fun the cast had, with raucous laughter from sidestage from those not immediately involved, and moments where straight faces were in short supply.

The audience were involved too of course, not just in calling out themes or settings, but when a scene involved the Devil pointing out a man with a devilish goatee in the audience.  (Who? me?  Well they did say how handsome he was…)

So, at the interval the lower scoring members departed.  Then at the end it came down to a tie breaker for last performer standing, with mark edging out Jess on the night.  So Mark reigns as King of Improv, until next time, but the winners were all the performers and the audience who all thoroughly enjoyed yet another great show from Improv XPress.

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