Jamboree in a jam
Sure, the blackouts affected last week's second annual Jamboree International Improv Fest - artistic director Kevin Patrick Robbins had to reschedule four nights into two. But after seeing every mainstage show - 11 acts in all - plus a bit of one cabaret show, we left disappointed. A shame. Isn't improv supposed to thrive on unpredictability?
New York City's The Neutrino Video Project have hold of a good idea - a team of videographers follow, in real time, three separate plot lines that connect at the end - but they were undone by sound problems. Chicago's Beatbox displayed tons of energy and two performers with star potential, but the crew was inconsistent and their impromptu raps were stronger than their non-rhythmic bits.
The fest's big Chicago headliners - Andy Eninger and BassProv - began well but both fizzled. Now that we've seen him three times, we realize solo improvisor Eninger falls back on the same themes: life in the 1940s or 50s, lonely children, fighting parents. BassProv's fishing buds Joe Bill and Mark Sutton began by effortlessly concocting a yarn that touched on high school make-out parties and laundry etiquette. But by the end they failed to reel in the various strands, even forgetting the audience's suggestion. Hmm... was it because they were drinking real beer during their set?
Standout performers included ImprovBoston 's Zabeth Russell , who appeared as a guest and upstaged Portland, Oregon's All Jane No Dick with her fearless invention, and New York's Adrianne Frost , who presented her own kick-ass if rambling solo show, then shone as a guest with so-so troupe goga NYC .
Decked out in hipster track suits, Toronto's own Slap Happy introduced a new format that included an onstage spinning and scratching DJ ( DJ Fase ). Lots of clever lines showed the quartet's synapses were firing, but they weren't in synch with the DJ and just barely recovered from an unfunny race-themed situation midway through the set.
Caught nine performances at the newly revamped fFIDA International Dance Festival , and it's clear there's no dearth of up-and-coming dancers and challenging choreographers. D.A. Hoskins 's A History Of The Immediate Future stood out with its hypnotic, polyamorous look at fantasy and the passing of time in our techno-saturated world. His ethnically diverse group of dancers - including Gerard Reyes , Kelly Lewis , Rodney Morgan , Clinton Draper , Sebastian Mena and Mary Beth MacMillan - impressed with their complete confidence.
David Pressault 's elegant, sculptural A Chimerical Hand showcased three young Vancouver dancers in a humour-suffused work that looked at sleight-of-hand card tricks and the profession of dancing itself.
The strongest and most vivid piece we saw was Futari En Trois Coleurs, a series of 14 tableaux contrasting French and Japanese culture performed with wit and elegance by Louis Laberge-Côté and Keiko Ninomiya . Please bring this back.