I haven’t got very many holiday traditions myself, but without fail I always include taking in at least one holiday performance by the talented troupe from Vancouver TheatreSports League. This year’s Merry Kiss-mas production was a departure from previous performances, but it’s a very welcome addition, and I predict it will be a holiday tradition for many years to come.
The format will appeal to everyone who is a fan of those movies that grace the Hallmark Channel and Netflix this time of year – those sometime saccharine-sweet storylines that centre around family, the joys and tensions that the holidays bring, love, and always, a happy ending. For the first half of the performance I saw, the ensemble cast tackled a variety of Hallmark-like titles (think Christmas Cookies, Marry Us for Christmas, Coming Home for Christmas – titles seemingly known only to our fabulous host Margret Nyfors).
In the second half of the show, Angela Galanopoulos, Lauren McGibbon, Michel Teigen, Taz VanRassel, and Allen Morrison were joined by audience member and improv newbie Travis, who was a natural, and stole the show as a guy in search of love, and who unexpectedly finds it with a lovely Lady in Red – but not before their relationship was almost nipped in the bud. It was a fabulous evening filled with laughter and the spirit of the season.
But there’s more about improv to discover amid the laughs, and you see it displayed in every Merry Kiss-mas performance. Being fearless and open to all possibilities. Not being afraid to say silly things. Learning it’s OK to fail. Sharing, giving and being supported by the people around you. Saying Yes, and seeing where it takes you. And of course, though the format of each show remains the same, no performance is alike. It all depends on which cast members take the stage, and what suggestions they get from the audience. All of these elements add to the magic of improv, and why I encourage everyone to make Merry Kiss-mas an annual tradition.
Merry Kiss-mas runs Wednesdays through Saturdays till December 24 at the Improv Centre on Granville Island. Performance Times: Wednesday & Thursday at 7:30pm | Friday & Saturday at 8:00pm
Tickets: From $10.75 at http://www.vtsl.com/show/merry-kiss-mas/
Children ages 7 and up are welcome. In addition to the evening performances, there are family matinees December 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 11:30 a.m., and a special Christmas Eve show on December 24 at 2 pm.
Go. You’ll be so glad you did! And Happy Holidays, everyone.