Two new long-form improv
groups have some work to do, but they are beginning to jell.
a previous performance about one month ago, 10-member improv group
Varsity, which includes several UCB class alumni, has begun to jell and
Various members of the group were quick to step right in to illustrate a
tableau of photos taken from a girl’s freshman year at college, segueing
deftly ahead to Thanksgiving, when the abusive boyfriend (played by Mike
Knight) joins the girl (Jessie Spellmann) at her family’s house for
dinner and proceeds to dominate everyone.
their September 28 show, also at Caroline’s on Broadway, Varsity still
seemed to be working off formats taught in classes, but one part of
their performance showed their ability, and this was a group scene of
soldiers boasting about themselves in cadence, which they later reprised
only as beauty pageant contestants.
America, on the other hand, some of whose members have been at this a
little longer than most of Varsity, seemed to have trouble connecting.
It was their first show with the complete group together in four months,
on the occasion of group member Will McLaughlin about to leave for
L.A. In the show, Eddie Dunn flailed away at a Frankenstein impression
that kept going even after his jokes had run their course. The missing
connections became obvious when Charlie Sanders (also of the Shoves)
entered, playing a secretary and Eli Newell, playing an obnoxious
groper, failed to notice her presence as a new likely target for him.
Another scene that grew out of one of the monologues presented in this
improv performance about bringing presents -- appropriate or not and
expensive or not -- for a girlfriend’s parents seemed to wander off
course. The members of America may have lost inspiration on where to
take it, or maybe weren’t listening well enough to each other to keep it