Short-form improvisational comedy is a dangerous game. There are few props and no place to hide. The audience is left completely to the imagination of the performers. I must admit, at least initially, I was skeptical: despite the best efforts of Absolute Improv!, there was a tangible sense of reservation among the audience. Introductions were laboured and despite the fast pace, some scenes proved combative and tended to drag.
Fear not, however, for the crowd warmed to the performers and their seemingly endless solicitations of ideas and suggestions, some of which bordered on the silly and senseless. Highlights included a lesson in Greco-Roman wrestling by an Austrian poet who oddly enough sounded as though he spoke more Italian or Russian than German and a blind date bearing resemblance to the party favourite “Who Am I?”. The quality of Absolute Improv! really showed through, particularly in the last twenty minutes. The trio put in a particularly strong performance in a scene in which a young lad was forced to explain exactly how and why he was late to work. The show ended on its strongest note with a humorous recreation of the first time a couple in the audience met. (Apparently they have some explaining to do to their children).
By no means a chef d'oeuvre, the show’s success nonetheless owes itself to the trio’s ability to invoke a simple appreciation for the ingenuity and authenticity of the performance. In fairness to Absolute Improv!, such a small, intimate room designed for one purpose and one purpose only- to feed on the audience- is a double-edged sword. The setting of scenes, co-creation, and the overall comedic value are entirely reliant on and by extension can only be as good as the audience’s imagination.