Posts Tagged ‘Catch 23 Improv’

Weekly Update 257

February 1st, 2009 Steve No comments
Die Roten Punkte

Die Roten Punkte

This week, Thunderheist and Shad top a series of FREE weekend shows in Toronto; the Rhubarb and Weesageechak Festivals open at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille, respectively; Ruby Coast and Winter Gloves headline a rock solid night of indie music at the Horseshoe Tavern on Thursday; Bad Dog Theatre’s Globehead Tournament ramps up to the finals this weekend; and Fringe favourites Die Roten Punkte play a two night stand at Supermarket on Monday and Tuesday. Full listings and the weekly picks, after the electronic “Fold”. Read more…

Update 256

January 25th, 2009 Steve No comments

This week’s update includes three new theatre premieres (“Lady in the Red Dress“, “Ubuntu“, and “Stranger“), A Sketchersons radio taping, a burlesque carnival, Chris Gibb’s “The Power of Ignorance“, and FREE or cheap shows by Oh No Forest Fires, The Schomberg Fair, Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains, and Hooded Fang.

Click the “more” tab to read the full week’s picks for theatre, comedy, film, and music! Read more…

Bingo: The Show

January 19th, 2009 Steve No comments

St. Agatha’s church burned to the ground in a mysterious fire. Its pastor, Reverend Winters, perished in the fire, and the church’s parish found themselves without a home or spiritual leader. In order to raise funds to rebuild the church, the reverend’s widow, Dot Winters, continues to host a regular bingo night, having moved the proceedings to the back room of Clinton’s Tavern. But alcohol and bingo mixed together brings out the worst in some of the regular bingo players and depressed parishioners…

None of this is, of course, real, right down to the powdered wig on Dot (AKA Megan Fraser). The only real thing about “Bingo: The Show” is, in fact, the bingo – and the prizes (yes, there’s prizes – I’m now the dubiously proud owner of a Ricky Martin concert DVD from the last show). But the scenario is perfect for performers, particularly improv actors and buffon clowns, to work in character and create hilarious spontaneous scenes; scenes that can happen anytime in between Dot calling out the letters and numbers from her table top ball dispenser.

From left to right - Jim Taylor, Megan Phillips, Mandy Sellers, Megan Fraser, Inessa Frantowski, Katie Crown, Chantale Renee, Kristen McGregor, & Mike Kiss, in character for Bingo: the Show's Christmas edition.

(More about the dispossessed denizens of St. Agatha’s church after the jump). Read more…

Impromptu Splendor

January 8th, 2009 Steve 4 comments

I mentioned several of the recurring shows at Comedy Bar in my post about Catch 23 earlier this week. Of all the shows I mentioned, though, Impromptu Splendor is an anomaly. It’s certainly funny enough to deserve a weekly slot at Comedy Bar, but it’s not actually a comedy show. It’s something uniquely different from the many improv shows in Toronto; it’s improvised theatre.

Naomi Snieckus, Ron Pederson, Kayla Lorette, and Matt Baram performing in the style of Henrik Ibsen.

(I explain my potentially contentious assertion after the break!) Read more…

Catch 23 Improv

January 5th, 2009 Steve 2 comments

I’ve gone on at length in my updates about the many terrific shows happening on a weekly basis at Comedy Bar; shows newly launched in the space, such as The Stand-up Show and Impromptu Splendour (which I’ll be writing about at length later in the week), and established, “imported” shows, like PROJECTProject and Comedy Bar’s flagship show, Sunday Night Live.  Of the established shows, the longest running is Catch 23 Improv.

Kurt Smeaton, Graham Wagner, & Becky Johnson: All three will be onstage tonight at Comedy Bar.

Kurt Smeaton, Graham Wagner, & Becky Johnson: The date's a bit off, but all three will be onstage tonight at Comedy Bar.

First launched in 2002 at the Oasis (now know as the Savannah Room), Catch 23 soon found a more permanent home at Clinton’s Tavern, in the Renaissance Room. For 5 years, this cozy back room saw most of the Toronto’s top improvisers trying to wrest the bragging rights of being winners of the city’s “friendliest improv deathmatch”.  I say most, because Catch 23 is not necessarily for every improviser. The core audience has always been improv savvy, smart, and can be very critical in their judging, though not usually so harsh as the rotating cast of judges, particularly Graeme “Tough Love” Bunton (who, in my opinion, is usually absolutely right in his sometimes brutal critiques).

With 23 minutes per team (to use however they wish), four rounds, audience and judge scoring, and several other carefully codified rules, Catch 23’s structure actually liberates many performers to take risks that they might not at another regular improv showcase (the flowing taps have also encouraged some particularly wild exhibitions) . Early years saw performers cover the stage with dozens of mousetraps, purposely try to make each other cry on stage, and drinks things no reasonable person would ever consume in public.  I myself performed a scene in ‘03 in Shakespearean verse, in reverse alphabetical order. (Awesomeness follows after the break!) Read more…