Fells Point Corner Theatre is offering up something really special with the Late Night Double Feature Improv show. Featuring a cast of actors from all around Baltimore, they take audience ideas and weave it into a semi-structured narrative. The general story is that of a haunted house in the 60s during Act One, and then a crew of ghost hunters returning to that house in 2018 in Act Two. Featuring a varying cast every night, the antics and hijinks are sure to delight! The night that I went was one of the most enjoyable evenings at a theatre I’ve spent in a long time.
It’s tricky trying to review an improv show since it’ll always be a different production, but I can say that it was clear that the precision and care that was put into the concept is breathtaking. The night I went I was blessed to see Hayley Derryberry and Carly Bell as two of the performers. These two delivered line after line of comedy gold throughout the entire evening. The rest of the cast that night also delivered memorable moments, but nothing beat Derryberry’s Jackie O wannabe impression and Ball’s supremely self-aware ditzy blonde stereotype.
Something I noticed and would be remiss not to mention is how easily two of the male actors fell into “improvising” misogynistic material. Multiple times in an effort to land a joke one of the actors would end a sentence with something along the lines of: “I didn’t think she could do it…because she’s a woman”. Now sure, there are ways to portray characters that are misogynist, however that did not seem to be the case here. And so my question is: why when you’re scrambling to find something funny, do your minds go to belittling women? These types of jokes aren’t funny, fellas. While you’re there trying to spin gold out of oppression, the women onstage are leading a masterclass in how to create compelling narratives on the fly. Get on their level.
With all of that said, nothing they said was any worse than what you would find in any Noel Coward play, it was just interesting that that was the first place they went when trying to be “funny.” All in all, it’s a short sweet night of fun. In and out in under an hour and fifteen, it’s a perfect start to a summer date night. Improv is the truest form of audience engagement in theatre and I really hope to see improv collaborations like this become mainstays in theatre institutions around the city, and I highly commend the actors and creators behind this project.
SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO? Go, go, go, go, go! Improv works best when it’s a sold-out house so go and fill the seats and laugh your ass off! Especially if Hayley Derryberry or Carly Ball are performing! (B)
At Fells Point Corner Theater through July 29th.