Improvengers: Pretendgame is an ambitious concept without the follow-through.
This group is full of talented people with the seeds of a great show.
Hivemind starts the show by collecting ideas from the audience for superhero names and unusual powers which are later incorporated into the show. As with all improv, each night is different, and unfortunately our version wasn’t as ‘super’ as we might have hoped.
This is clearly a team of creative people who enjoy acting together, often cracking up at each other’s improvisations. The problem with all that creativity is that it’s clear when one member has a specific plot/character arc in mind, and they seem a bit thrown when their collaborators deviate from that plan. At times, they try to map their vision out clearly for each other instead of adapting to the new scenario that has been put in front of them. "Yes, and" can only go so far.
A lot of the jokes were genuinely funny, but didn't land due to a combination of misplaced comedic timing, interruptions from other cast members and the constant background music. While the melodic electronic piano is very soothing and adds an element of professionalism to the improv show, it also detracts from the punchlines and doesn’t necessarily fit within the superhero theme. It also didn’t help that the blinding back-lighting was exactly in the audience’s eye line.
The performers get a lot of credit for their trendy concept, dedication to the craft and unique take on each scene. The mutual support shown between cast members is heartwarming, and it’s clear they love what they’re doing.
Anyone who takes on improv is a hero in their own right, but with great power comes great responsibility (too much?). This group is full of talented people with the seeds of a great show, let’s just hope they can find a way to put all the pieces together.