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Crisis On Improv Earth

ImprovOlympic

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Crisis ON IMPROV EARTH, ImprovOlympic. An instructor at ImprovOlympic recently faulted me for daring to judge an improv show by a single performance; it varies from night to night, he insisted. Right. Well, I'll come back to re-review Crisis on Improv Earth the day ImprovOlympic refunds the money the audience spent to see its lame June 27 opener.

As always with Improv-Olympic, the concept beckons. The members of the Superhero Society of America (six comics and an offstage narrator cleverly called the Caption) perform a long-form improvisation derived from what's called the Clark (to distinguish it from the better-known Harold). The distinction is academic. The idea is to build a comic-book fantasy full of epic conflicts and intergalactic derring-do based on six audience suggestions: a global problem (global warming the night I attended), personal problem (body odor), job (teacher), everyday household object (toothbrush), location (outdoor toilet), and cliche ("Better late than never"). Alas, the comics neglected most cues and completely ignored the second and sixth. Their refusal to honor their own rules might have been excused if they'd hit comic gold. But we got pyrite--a clumsy plot about an evil menace called the Scissor (stolen from Tim Burton, and in any case not one of the suggestions), who fights the Toothbrush Girl and her equally clueless ally Aerosolia. (And, no, Aerosolia had nothing to do with global warming.)

Worse, this show purports to imitate the comics, but it was perversely slow and tentative, with no camaraderie connecting the villains or the good guys. But maybe I saw it on a bad night.

--Lawrence Bommer

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