Review by Danielle Rosvally
(Cambridge) Look, they improvised a full-length Broadway-scale musical adaptation of Sharknadobased upon a suggestion from an audience member who couldn’t even recite salient plot details. Based solely upon these merits, I would be remiss if I told you anything but drop whatever you’re doing at 10:00 PM this Friday and go to ImprovBoston to see this show.
After an audience suggestion of what movie they should turn into a musical (the runner-
up for my viewing was Jurassic Park… I don’t think I could have gone wrong here), the cast will pull up (courtesy of YouTube) a theatrical trailer for the film. Rather than watching the trailer, I highly recommend that you keep your eyes on the actors. Being there first-hand to see the wheels start spinning is one of the most exciting parts of live improv performance.
It is pretty widely recognized that limitation encourages boundless creativity. For example, if I told you to write a 100-word story about whatever you wanted, you might be able to do it with some serious thought and a few sessions of teeth-gnashing. If I gave you the same instruction but fed in the idea that it should be about Halloween and somehow use the element of a sewing machine, suddenly you have much something to latch onto and build an idea with. The same is true for improv; and I can only assume that it would be even more true for a specialized form of improv (…like… you know… full-tilt, live-band accompanied, Broadway musical style improv.).
The key to good satire is timing, and the cast of Movie! The Musical! has a keen sense of it. In order to play with any form of story telling and make loving fun of it, you need to know what its formulas are. Accordingly, they know precisely when to insert a fiery love ballad (like “Just for the Moment” (Wicked), or “If I Loved you” (Carousel)), a “yearning” or “I want” song (a la “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” The Wizard of Oz; or “Something’s Coming,” Westside Story), or an inspirational “let’s go gem ‘em!” anthem (“Into the Fire”, Scarlet Pimpernel; “One Day More,” Les Miserables). As a result, I was able to bear witness to such timeless musical numbers as “The Circle of Death” (a duet between a shark and a scientist about how life is all just part of a circle of death; complete with snappy tap number), and “The Shark-Killing Dance” (a company number in which the cast learns how to kill a shark by dancing). Seriously people, you can’t make this stuff up (…you know… except for the time that they did…).
Grab a couple friends and go support live improv in Cambridge. The show is a pithy one hour long which leaves you plenty of time to grab whatever form of drink best suits your mood and reminisce about how awesome the performance was.