slap happy daysslap happy days
Caught long-form improv troupe Slap Happy's Wednesday set at Clinton's Tavern, their last gig there before heading south to the Foolfest! Orlando Comedy Festival February 19 to 25 and their mainstage appearance at the ultra-prestigious Chicago Improv Fest in early April.
Their set began with a couple about to have a baby, took a surreal detour examining the lives of the Carradine brothers and entered a strange narrative portal that told us about a doctor's private compromises, then headed back to the baby plot.
Slap Happy (Dave Pearce, Sandy Jobin-Bevans, Tabetha Wells and Kerry Griffin) are easily one of the smartest and funniest outfits in town, of whatever genre. Their technique of "character slapping" -- sending characters out of a scene by slapping them, hence the name -- has been much imitated. Last week they tried out a new format called Narratron, where a character in a scene suddenly steps forward, says something like "...and that's when I realized... " and goes off on a tangent, which gives us access to their past and adds depth and texture to the narrative.
The troupe doesn't dumb down the material. Jobin-Bevans (late of Second City) even mentioned the word "hubris" in one of his lines. They have absolute trust in each other and in the sophistication of their audience. They're up for anything, unafraid to point out any inconsistencies that arise. And let's not forget the efforts of musician Matt Reid, crucial when one or two of them break into song to add an extra gut-busting underscoring to a scene.
Before heading south, Slap Happy play February 10 at the Rivoli, where they hope to start up a monthly gig beginning in April. Can't wait.
timeless talenttimeless talent
Bonding in prison doesn't always take the violent path shown on TV's Oz. Native Earth presents a workshop production of Terry Ivins's Time Stands Still, in which two convicts in lockdown discover a new kind of friendship. A hit at One Yellow Rabbit's High Performance Rodeo, the show features Sam Bob and Glen Gould, with direction by Doris Peltier. The cameo role of a guard goes to various celebrities during the run, January 31 to February 3: museum curator Tom Hill, councillor Jack Layton, Dora-winner Nigel Shawn Williams and comic Mike Bullard. Native Canadian Centre (16 Spadina Road). 416-531-1402.