By Sandy Gibson
50 mins | Comedy, Improv | PG
One never knows how an improv show is going to turn out but the artists and improvisers involved in the opening show of Cold Open by Crush Improv have much to be happy about. Drawing inspiration from a humorous monologue about art therapy and finger painting by fellow Fringe artist Lana Schwarcz (Lovely Lady Lump), the cast improvised a series of scenes that involved everything from scrapbooking interventions to Scottish-Irish political reconciliation.
Everyone in the cast brought something different to the ensemble, be it grounded honesty by Al Connors, captivating characters by Jordan Moffat and Kristine Shadid, or bizarre but hilarious scenarios from Tim Anderson and Dan Lajoie such as a church sponsored by Mountain Dew. Some of the scenes went on a little longer than they should have, but the group maintained the attention of the audience through constantly changing the stage picture and injecting new energy into each scene.
From a technical standpoint, the cast made excellent use of their minimal set — four stage blocks — and the performance space at La Nouvelle Scène, a new venue in the Ottawa Fringe Festival. Lighting changes were even used to great effect in a way that one doesn’t often see in improv. Most importantly, the members of Crush Improv seemed to be having fun on stage, a key component for any improv show as it often transfers to the audience. Whether you’ve never seen improvised theatre or are a long-time improv junkie, Cold Open is certainly worth checking out.
Cold Open is playing at La Nouvelle Scène on Saturday, June 18th at 3:00pm; Sunday, June 19th at 6:30pm; Tuesday, June 21st at 9:30pm; Friday, June 24th at 10:30pm and Sunday, June 26th at 5:30pm. Tickets are $12.