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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Theatre Review: Back to School TheatreSports is a riot

Improvised comedy is an engaging night of quick wit and laughs

Whether you are going back to school or not, Vancouver TheatreSports’ Back to School Theatresports is a riot.

Set during an assembly at Gregor Robertson School, the evening is hosted by the school’s music teacher, with assistance from the principal and vice-principal in the tech booth.

A competition between the jocks and the nerds, to see who will get the fundraising money for their respective desires – a tour of the Big Bang Theory set for the nerds and a creatine dispenser for the jocks – let’s just say on this particular night the nerds proved that brains really are better than brawn.

The two teams battle it out with a variety of hilarious improv scenes and games. The scenes vary widely, with the audience invited to throw out ideas and even to jump onstage and help out the performers. Never the exact same show each night, the action is created live by the players.

On this particular night there was a scene about chalkboards played out three different ways, a music video about basket weaving, and a fun game where the parents are trying to get the child to guess what the audience has chosen.

While there are some failures, as there often is with show’s built on improvisation, they are also part of the enjoyment from this form of comedy. The ensemble is undeniably quick-witted and while there were a few moments that went into dark humour quickly, this was also fun.

The strongest comedic performance of this night came from Scott Patey, the team captain of the nerds. His humour shines and is one of those rare actors you laugh at (or with) before they even say anything.

Rae-Lynn Carson’s creepy and quirky characters were delightful and Chris Casillan’s songs were impressive and hilarious. Overall, these players know what they are doing and keep the audience engaged and laughing.

Packed with laughs and a quick wit, Back to School TheatreSports is engaging. And whether you are returning to school or not, it may just very well ease the pain of what September brings.

Back to School TheatreSports continues at The Improv Centre (1502 Duranleau Street, Granville Island) until October 6. Visit for tickets and information.

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