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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Flop Sweat, October 6, 2012

Captain Spaceship and the Stars
Does reviewing improv make sense? ... Maybe?
by Kyle Allatt

Captain Spaceship’s premise is a fairly solid one.  Take all the kitsch, low-production, one dimensional characters, special effects, robots, aliens and ray guns of yesteryear’s greatest and/or crappiest Science Fiction TV shows and films and throw it all together in an hour long improvised epic.

A solid premise that produced a somewhat shaky, but ultimately fulfilling long-form improvised show.

Before going any further, perhaps an important question to ask is “Does it even make any sense to write a review about an improv show?  A show that will be completely different each time.”  Answer:  Maybe?

the emotion of disappointment, The Loch Ness Monster, and a box that destroys memories

Presumably in future productions of the show (playing next month, Nov 1st at Mainline Theatre) many elements will be retained.  The show’s cast for example, consisting of a panoply of seasoned improv veterans, including Marc Rowland and Kirsten Rasmussen of Montreal Improv, Dan Jeannotte and Matt Goldberg of Uncalled For, Pat Dussault of The Bitter End and JFL, Lea Rondot formerly of On The Spot and Shane Adamczak, an actual Australian.  From what I gathered speaking to the cast after the show, subsequent episodes will be somewhat like a regular TV show.  The cast will be playing the same or close to the same main characters as they did in this one, maybe with slight alterations (the robot less alien-like, say.  Perhaps the bad guy more Shakespearian) and the next show simply being the next episode in the series.

The weakest element was the integration of audience suggestions into the performance.  Before things began Adamczak gathered three elements from the spectators for use in the show.  They were the emotion of disappointment, The Loch Ness Monster, and a box that destroys memories.  None of these elements really played an integral role in the story that finally unfolded and all seemed shoehorned in at the last moment.  While giving the audience a piece to play in the production does make them feel more part of the show and assures us that this is indeed improv and not a scripted piece of wool pulled over our eyes, ultimately none of these elements were necessary and frankly just got in the way.

The highlight of the show was easily Kirsten Rasmussen’s portrayal of a slime dwelling, crab-like alien thingy.  It is rare when you see a performer manipulate their body and face in such a way that you almost forget they are a human being, but this is what Rasmussen was able to achieve on stage.

And let’s not forget the funny.  All these people know how to get the good guffaw in.  Whether it’s the sci-fi farce of constantly re-wiping the same 2 minutes from a robot’s brain or simply shitting on Mitt Romney’s 47% comments, I and those around me were chuckling merrily throughout the performance.

Overall Captain Spaceship succeeds, perhaps clumsily, perhaps somewhat inelegantly, to entertain, much like all the Sci-Fi shows throughout the years that inspired it.  With the group of people involved I would expect that this première show is one that works out some of the kinks and future productions will be as good as this, if not stronger.

Captain Spaceship’s next intergalactic adventure will take place IN THE FUTURE, specifically Thursday Nov 1st, and again Friday January 4th, 8PM at Mainline, 3997 St Laurent.

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