A Utah Theater Review by B.J. Wright
What do robot legs, the attempted assassination of an alien ambassador, and a plot to blow up the railway system of Southern Europe have in common? Give up? Those were all elements of a show I was able to sit back and enjoy during an hour of fun with Improv Friends, a theater improv group performing at the Echo Theater in Provo. As I walked in the theater I could tell this would be a different experience than I was used to as the room was smaller than I expected. There were a few rows of chairs around the edges of the room, with most of the action taking place in the center.
As the show started one of the actors explained that this would be a night of storytelling, and indeed it was. First we were treated to the never before seen, never before written sci-fi play called The Run of Blahzingoh, followed by several short improv scenes, and finally were entertained by an Alfered Hitchcock-style thriller entitled The Expedition of Judy Spears. The plotlines were a little cheesy, but kept me chuckling throughout the night. Just what I would expect from an improv show. The proximity of the audience to the actors made it fun to watch the scenes unfold. It was fun to see the actors think on the run as they were in the spotlight, as well as plot quietly together while they were on the sidelines.
As I sit back and try to think of individual performers that stood out to me, not a whole lot comes to mind. These actors work well together, and have a great chemistry as they work together to create a story on the stage. One scene in particular I remember comes from The Expedition of Judy Spears. One actor pretends to slap another. Off stage one of the actors decides to add a slapping sound effect, though timed it a little late. Without skipping a beat, the actor on stage tells his victim that was only a practice slap, and tries again. This time the sound effect was timed correctly and the crowd cheered.
It wasn’t the best improv show I have ever been to, though it is definitely not the worst I have seen either. It is a show that I would go to again for an enjoyable evening, and based on the show I saw I would even feel comfortable taking my children. You can see Improv Friends perform on Friday and Saturday next week. Don’t miss your chance to see Jeffery Blake, Juliana (Jules) Blake, Jared Lynton, Hailey Nebeker, Patrick Newman, Melanie Stone Thomason, and Riley Workman perform several never-before-seen stories on stage!
Improv Friends at EchoTheater
145 N University, Provo
Friday, August 31 and Saturday, September 1
Tickets $8 (But you can get in 2 for $12 if you tell them you “brought a friend” at the door)