The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title On the Spot Improv - Headliners' Musical Improv
Organization Take Note Troupe
Date(s) of show January 16, 2016
Reviewer Sallee Kallenbach
Review At first glance TNT’s On-the-Spot improvisation company is a group of performers who work together and hold each other up at every opportunity. While incorporating the added benefit of learning life skills through improvisation, coaches LaRee Florence and Steve Gandola have taught these high school-aged performers how to provide mild and comical entertainment for the community. The minute I walked into TNT’s commercial performance space at 4357 Pacific Street in Rocklin, the people involved couldn’t have been more polite about getting me in to review the show. As the lights dimmed and the performance began, hosts Brady and Mackenzie laid down the rules of the game. Along with an abundance of audience participation, whenever someone yelled “This was done entirely…” the audience was to shout “...On the Spot!” As soon as the hosts introduced the cast, the audience was asked for a name with one syllable. The name “Tom” was chosen and right away a couple of backup singers started a quick and steady “Buh-dum-bum-bump, bah dum-bum-boom" in the background while some of the other performers launched into a spontaneous rap using sentences with words which rhymed with “Tom,” such as “bomb,” “pom,” “mom,” “CD-ROM” and “dot com.” Naturally, the cleverness of this spontaneity immediately tickled the audience’s funny bone. During the course of the show a keyboard player intermittently accompanied some of the action from upstage, a lobby bell was used to end each sequence, and “commercials” were cleverly added in between skits, advertising TNT’s classes and performances.

Other improv sketches included: 1. “3-Headed Monster,” in which a participant from the audience was picked out and serenaded, one head and one word at a time, by a three-headed monster. 2. “POV,” in which a rap song was generated with a place suggested by someone in the audience. 3. “Underscore,” in which audience members temporarily donated their cell phones and tablets so that theme music could be provided for an extemporaneous movie plot. 4. “Freeze,” in which word suggestions were collected from the audience for a skit which was continually interrupted by one actor after another until the story was completed. 5. “International Star,” which featured a Norwegian pop star with a translator and several interpretive backup dancers. The finale, “Create a Musical,” was by far the longest and most unbeatable sketch of the show. As words such as “Walmart” and “school” were hurled from the audience, an impromptu and rather nightmarish musical was created, which involved a student being lost at Walmart University while a foreign employee, a romance, two shady inspectors and a couple of disgruntled workers added to the intrigue. Overall, I was very entertained and amused by this troupe. Improvisation is the hardest aspect of theatrical performance there is, and during the years that these students have worked on improv, they have built up the confidence to step out in the limelight and demonstrate their hard-won skill.

TNT’s On-the-Spot performers include: Ryann Baily, Eliza Blair, Pearley Dufort, Corbin Florence, Lucas Gandola, Brady Holms, MacKenzie Nelson, Spencer Sanders and Samuel Stapp.

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