nytheatre.com review by Montserrat Mendez
August 13, 2011
How do you review IMPROV? I never have. I am more structured than that. I have to have my theatre with lines and sets and entrances and exits, and maybe a well-placed gun shot.
Hip.Bang! Is a Vancouver duo, come to the Fringe to impress New Yorkers with their Improvisational talents and abilities. As a jaded New Yorker, I sat there, waiting to be impressed. After all, I have seen all types of theatre. What can these Vancouverians teach me about the art of Improv?
They didn’t teach me a thing. They did however make me laugh, groan and on three occasions guffaw.
It turns out Hip.Bang! is absolutely charming and often hysterical, surprisingly sweet and totally engrossing Improv comedy show. Time flew! But for the 50 minutes in between I forgot about the Debt Ceiling and the England Riots. The experience I received from both Tom and Devin was perfect. A perfect little gift of summer laughter! Something I didn’t know I needed until I saw it. Yes, we live in dark times and Tom and Devin make them just a little less dark. Their comedy is like a little flashlight—a little and yet very funny, fizzy flashlight!
Seriously though, Tom and Devin (there are no programs so I didn’t get their last names) are absolutely creative, charming and genial young men, who just have a great time coming up with rapid-fire improvised situations that are ridiculous and yet tap into our everyday fears. Their set up is simple, as are their situations.
They just ask for one word. In our case, the word was “magnitude” and from it they created an entire little play, with different characters, situations and events that defined and redefined the word. I guess in our night, because of our word, every situation grew bigger and larger and more intense as it gained magnitude.
They began by introducing us to two brothers who touchingly mow the lawn, remembering that mowing the lawn was their absentee’s father favorite hobby—so much so that the had two lawn mowers. This somehow led to the two boys shooting their neighbors and surviving an apocalypse in a bunker full of food, an urine purifier and Charles Dickens books. Along the way we met a couple of monks who live by the sea and fear Tornadoes. They are also afraid the world is ending, because “the sea looks flooded.” The sea looks flooded! I can laugh for hours remembering this scene.
Check these guys out if you get a chance. They are from Vancouver, and so they are not going to have the large base of friends to tap into when selling tickets to such a massive festival. But also, it’s perfect Fringing, summer fun. I was so glad I got to see them.