Improvability at Isla Vista’s Embarcadero Hall

A Review of Improvability at Isla Vista’s Embarcadero Hall, Friday, November 7.

On Friday night, Improvability‘s cast of six played 12 different improvised games, and all this variety packed into a little over an hour kept the show moving at a high speed and hilarious pace. One game was called “The Play.” First, a member of the cast transformed into a prima donna theater director with a German accent who was putting on a play called The Taco Bell Dog. When it began as a boring play with a stupid plot, the director yelled, “Stop the play!” and berated one of the actors, shouting, “You, were you trying to do a New York accent? It was terrible.” She then told her to be the best New Yorker possible-Barbara Streisand. Speaking to the second actor, she said to focus on the noise coming from the front row, where laughing kids from a local school were seated. The third actor was told to do exactly what he was doing.

What came next was a scene in which the same lines were repeated precisely, but with the second actor jumping off the stage and screaming at the little kids in the front row, who laughed even harder with all the attention. The Streisand character said her lines pompously, but was impossible to understand because her New York accent turned to gibberish, and the third actor did exactly what he was doing the first time. The result was a hilarious jumble of activity, made especially sweet by the addition of the explosive laughter of little kids.

In another game called “Vacation Pics,” the cast created a real-life slideshow out of the narrator’s vacation to the mythical realm of Candyland. In the last game, the cast re-created some personal stories. One traveler even recounted a train ride through Eastern Europe that included a witch, a wizard, and flying monkeys. It was strange, but funny. Later in the same game, when the troupe acted out an Isla Vista party, an actor playing 3rd District Supervisor candidate Doreen Farr made a surprise guest appearance. It’s not every day you see accurate impressions of Santa Barbara celebrities.

For the most part, the crew kept the show clean for the sake of the kids, despite the disturbing efforts of a loud group of revelers in the back. Generally speaking, improv is notorious for its dirty jokes, and you would certainly expect nothing less of an improv group based in I.V., but Friday’s show was inexpensive, fun, and (relatively) family-friendly.

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