Company: Parking Lots Improv, Winnipeg, MB
Venue: Venue #7 - The Cinematheque
it’s fun for us to watch them sweat. That’s part of the excitement. You can see them thinking. Hard.
Think of it as a build-your-own pizza. You've got your base, in this case the young five-member male troupe called Parking Lots. You add your toppings of choice. If lots of people join in, it will be different every time. Its success will depend on the imaginative mix of ingredients.
Parking Lots has been around for just a couple of years and this is their first Fringe show. It's based on the book series Choose Your Own Adventure. The group wanted to take on a project that would have as much audience participation as possible.
The idea is that cast members present the audience periodically with choices about which direction the plot should take.
It must be said, doing improv in the first place is a courageous act. But doing improv with audience direction - well, you might just be a little crazy.
But it's fun for us to watch them sweat. That's part of the excitement. You can see them thinking. Hard. They negotiate the non-sequiturs with a sprinkling of creativity or a slick smear of audacity.
By its very nature this kind of improv can be hit-and-miss. On my night, performances were uneven and some members displayed more confidence than others. Some of the choices offered to the audience were rather mundane - more outrageous options might have added interest and helped the show sustain an hour.
But there were some moments of real connection between the actors, story and audience. Give it a taste. You might come back for more.