If improv lends a breath of fresh air to the Fringe alongside its typical theatrical offerings, then Big Stupid Improv Show is a gale-force joyride that shouldn’t be missed. Although improv shows are less proliferous fare within the Fringe’s listings, Big Stupid Improv Show is one of the best bets you can make to spice up your Fringe viewing list.
The rotating cast — made up of improvisers from across Edmonton, Canada, and the world beyond — make up a strong ensemble to create a show you won’t soon forget. The yucks per minute (as well as the capacity of The Roxy on Gateway) were pretty much maxed out. The director’s cut format has improvisers compete by directing their own miniature stylized show. The rendition I attended included a Canadian Cooking show, an ‘80s-themed sexual education video, and a Disney princess fairy-tale. But who knows what they’ll create at the next showing? It’s improv!
How the performers on stage share the spotlight is what truly makes this improv show a professional act and a delight to see. U of A BFA Acting student Marguerite Lawler exemplified this — through starring as the toxically masculine prince to showing up as the throwaway chef character Grizzle to just being the best goddamn tree or village person. And when all improvisers came together in group song and dance numbers (or to form a gigantic dragon), the energy in the Roxy was electric.
One warning: the show used strobes without warning during especially energetic sequences, which poses a security hazard for any audience members who are sensitive to flashes of light.
If you’d like to add a smattering of improv to your Fringe experience, Big Stupid Improv Show is an excellent choice. With its boundless approach to the stories it tells, the show is frivolous, flawless fun for all.