SONGBUSTER - AN IMPROVISED MUSICAL by Tricia Black, Kristian Bruun, Matty Burns, Ashley Comeau, Alexandra Hurley, Stephanie Malek, Josh Murray, Nug Nahrgang, Connor Thompson and Tom King. Randolph Theatre. July 2 at 8 pm, July 4 at 2:30 pm, July 5 at 8:30 pm, July 8 at 5:45 pm, July 9 at 8 pm, July 10 at 1:45 pm. Buy tickets. Rating: NNNN
There are plenty of memorable songs from the musical theatre canon, but you're not going to hear any of them at Songbuster. At the top of the show, an audience member is asked to provide a scenario (on opening night, it was a wedding), and within 30 seconds, all nine cast members of this improvised musical launch into song.
The ensemble of mostly Bad Dog Theatre and Second City alumni aren’t given an easy task – making up multiple songs set to musical director Tom King's snappy piano accompaniment, with lyrics that (hopefully) rhyme, all while furthering the plot. Mostly, this talented group of improv actors succeeded. Within the wedding scenario, the show's most remarkable number came from Connor Thompson, who took on the role of a "cool priest." Brimming with Archie Comics-type advice, Thompson launched into a tune about approaching life like "eating a big hot-dog," a song that recalled the gee-whiz appeal of Turn It Off from The Book Of Mormon.
The occasional joke or attempt at a clever rhyme didn't quite work, and cast members drew obvious blanks and tried to buy time before their turn to sing. But that’s part of the fun of improv – you just don’t know what you’re going to get.