bad dog theatre toronto

Thursday Theatre Review: Bad Dog Improv Summit

I'm going to try something a bit different in the ol' TTR this week. As I'm trying to conserve my limited critical resources for the two-week theatre orgy called The Fringe, today will be a combination 'review' and 'feature'. What I like to call a 'freview', or occasionally a 'reveature'.

Moving forward.

Everyone loves a summit. If by 'everyone', you mean scowling diplomats and folks really into the reduction of nuclear weapon stockpiles. But Toronto's Bad Dog Theatre has come up with an event with much broader appeal- instead of arguing about the number of ICBMs in Poland, the Bad Dog Improv Summit is all about funny.

The idea is simple: bring together top improv troupes from across North America for a four-day festival of improvised goodness. In its first year, the summit brings together Montreal's Without Annette, the Vancouver Theatresports League, Seattle's

I checked out the first night of the summit, a joint performance between some Bad Dog regulars and Without Annette. It was a Harold show, a form of long-form improv where the performers construct extended stories rather than quick scenes. As you would expect, it was funny. The summit is a showcase for the improv top guns of their respective cities, so comedy is more or less assured. But the really interesting thing is that different cities really do have different performance styles. Toronto seems to be more about 'big' performers and structured scenes, while the Montreal crew was subtler, favoured props, and had a more relaxed approach to scene construction.

The Bad Dog Improv Summit continues until June 28th. Tonight, the Vancouver Theatresports League and Unexpected Theatre will bring a little West Coast flavour. Tomorrow, all four teams get to strut their stuff. Things get competitive on Saturday night, with a four-way Theatresports battle royale. All shows start at 8PM at the Bad Dog Theatre (138 Danforth Ave.). And if you'd like to get in on all the improv summiting, a series of


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