British Columbia

Love, Actually turns into 'terrifying, but totally addictive' improv musical

Love, Actually has a place in many people's hearts at Christmas - and you can count on the performers of Vancouver's Off Key Improv to show that the love really is all around.

Vancouver's Offkey Improv takes suggestions and song ideas from audience in tribute to hit romantic comedy

Vancouver's Off Key Improv have created a new musical improv show called Love, Musically, in tribute to Christmas movie mainstay Love, Actually. Naturally. (Off Key Improv)

What do you do when you "get gloomy with the state of the world" during the Christmas season? If you're like millions of romantics around the world, you throw on Love, Actually.

Like it or not, the hit 2003 film starring Keira Knightly, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant (to name but a few!) has become a mainstay of Christmas movie viewing.

So naturally, Vancouver improv group Off Key Improv decided to take their impulse for some Christmastime Love, Actually one step further — with a new tribute musical improv show called Love, Musically.

In the show, 14 performers and four band members take suggestions from the audience for the storyline of a "loving tribute" to the hit 2003 film.

"We thought it would be fun to play a tribute to it," director, producer and performer Jennifer Pielak told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

"We really wanted to give our audience the holiday feel goods."

Pielak says the unpredictability of the show makes it "terrifying, but totally addictive." The songs are different every night, and the performers play different roles every night as well.

Some of the performers of Love, Musically, in a publicity still. Director and producer Jennifer Pielak is at bottom, second from right. (

Of course, while Love, Actually is much beloved by some, the love isn't necessarily all around. Quinn observed that it can actually be a bit of a divisive movie, and Pielak agreed.

"I also have mixed feelings about it. I love that there's different storylines, I love how every time I watch it I connect to different stories," she said.

"There's the joy and the cheesiness of the holidays, there's cynicism about the holidays, there's some really sad moments … Those are real things that happen to people, and that's what I really liked about the film.

"But there's a lot of pursuit of women, I would say, as a feminist. We want to challenge that part of the film and make it a little more present day."

Love, Musically is on at Studio 1398 at Granville Island and runs until Dec. 20.

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Love, Actually turns into 'terrifying, but totally addictive' improv musical


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