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The Improv Centre: Camp What’s-It-Called

Today we were at Granville Island to check out the newest themed improv show: “ Camp What’s-It-Called”, at the Improv theatre.

I have been to a handful of their shows and it has always been a good time, so decided to bring my partner to his very first.

We made a night of it, having dinner on the island, then sauntering to the theatre with enough time to grab a drink at their lounge with waterside view.

A few sips of the house red then it was off into the theatre to claim our seats. There isn’t too much audience participation with improv. And I have always found all the performers very respectful. They always ask, soliciting your consent first, if you do end up participating. Therefore you need not worry about sitting at one of the front row tables, it just allows a closer of the action and to have your voice heard loudest from amongst the crowd.

We did pick up a bag of buttered popcorn and some chocolate covered almonds to snack on during intermission.

The stage was painted to look like a clearing in the woods with sun setting in the background, a tent, and an outhouse. Block props were painted to look like tree stumps and a camp fire. It certainly helped to encompass the summer theme.

Much like the backdrop, I appreciate how the actors were fully committed to sticking to theme and scene. From the introduction of the “campers” and the lighting and sound tech; to the continuous reassurance of the audience that we have “all been here for weeks”.

A new touch was roll call, where audience members were given a shout out, myself included. Names were called and silly quips were added on. Mine was that I would be doing a workshop. I was able to add on that it would be about twerking. (Minimum participation points for me there)

I explained the art of improv to my partner, sharing how I like to shout out suggestions that are guaranteed to throw the players off, then laugh gleefully at the result. This is a true test of their abilities, to ad lib and play along. This changes each performance and makes each show its own.

Our camp would specializes in parkour, as per the audience’s suggestion, this resulted in a lot of awkward body movements. We also have each camper a quirk. One was prone to flatulence, another hyper fixated on snails, and one hid the fact that his family owns Lululemon. This would all come together in the second act as players were allowed to build their own short stories. This included participation from a young audience member, who volunteered. Worth mentioning is that the show is PG-kid friendly. And when less savoury suggestions were called out, the host was quick to point out the 11 year old in the front row.

Each show will feature a different cast, and different improv games. Ours had camp fire singalongs and letters written home, each with a curveball the cast had to work around.

I won’t go into anymore detail, but say that this was the funniest session I have been to, to date. Silly and wacky, it felt like we were kids again, all at camp.

For those interested, the show runs Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm until July 13th, 2024. “This summer-inspired show follows campers as they navigate things like crushes, singalongs, and camp politics, all while the audience leads the way.” (As taken from the press release) For tickets, visit the link below.

The Improv Centre
1502 Duranleau Street, Vancouver, BC V6H 3S4

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