Five members of the thoroughly competent comedy improv troupe, the IMPROVables, perform on an ongoing weekly basis at Westside Comedy Theater. The show opens to actors dressed as sunglass-wearing agents who rhythmically move through the audience in response to music and changing lights. They are consistently energetic, encourage a lot of audience participation, and integrate scientific and historical knowledge into the show. During several challenging games, the performers demonstrate a willingness to abide by the Improv laws of give-and-take, using cooperation and agreement to build information. These actors are extremely supportive of each other, allowing an opportunity for the best possible performances to emerge.
The initial game involves taking recommendations of lines from the audience that are written on small papers. Suggestions include movie lines, song lyrics, poetry lines, something a grandparent used to say, the last thing texted to someone, and one’s latest Facebook update. Two agents return, establish a location for the scene, pull these lines out of their pockets at various choice moments, and read them aloud as their chosen characters to often hilarious effect.
The competitive game ‘Truth-Run-Run’ takes a topic from the audience, and if someone’s delivery sounds unbelievable, that actor is eliminated by the referee. In a guessing game of Mad Libs that is closer to the grad school of Charades, one chosen actor leaves, then later returns to figure out specific words that have been suggested by the audience. The words are guessed from broad physical clues and gibberish speech provided by the other actors. This potentially formidable game was completed successfully every time, mainly due to the troupe members’ optimal communication with one another.
Actors occasionally ignore others’ spacework when knocking over imaginary props that have been previously established, yet they get even more props for the use of double entendres and witty puns. In defense of the performers, spacework is difficult to ascertain from far away, as it is possible that depth perception is somewhat altered when one is in the audience and that nothing imaginary was ever knocked over.
The comediennes and comedians make use of call backs by building jokes from topics mentioned earlier in the show. They are also open-minded in the interest of keeping the show entertaining. For instance, during the Emo Roco (Emotional Roller Coaster) game, an audience member proposed “racially confused” as an emotion, and the actors attempted to play it.
Performances are shown at Westside Comedy Theater seven days a week, and this particular troupe is scheduled every Friday at 10 pm. The theater is located at 1323-A 3rd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401-1309, in an alley between 3rd & 4th St. To contact the Box Office or make reservations, please call (310) 451-0850.