Building up to Paper Street Theatre’s War: Improv is Hell at Victoria Fringe Festival 2017

27 Aug

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Location:
Victoria Event Center
1415 Broad St.

Upcoming Dates:
Aug 28 8:30 pm
Aug 30 7:15 pm
Aug 31 7:15 pm
Sep 02 3:45 pm

Throughout the years, Paper Street Theatre have always shown that they have a lot of fun on stage. Whether that is during the Victoria Fringe Festival, at Gottacon (now defunct) or at Intrepid Theatre‘s own studio, I discovered them through An Improvised Quentin Tarantino back in 2013. They made a sequel in 2016. The latter could have been sooner if not for the nature for how Fringe Festival shows are selected, by lottery. Afterwards, I saw their Improv Dungeons and Dragons show twice. When looking at their upcoming season, I’m excited to see how they will be playing with the Zombie genre come Christmas and pay tribute to Ray Bradbury. Not to be forgotten, Agatha Christie is also going to be improvised.

I particularly enjoy seeing founder Dave Morris on stage and hope he will be on stage at War: Improv is Hell during this year’s local Fringe show. The Saturday night show did not have them present (I was told he was out of town) but I’ll have to stop by another day to see if I can catch him. I did knock one of his pocket monsters out of a gym in Pokemon GO once; when we are fellow nerds, there’s a bond. I love seeing him on stage.

Readers can find my reviews of this year’s shows on Two Hungry Blokes, instead of me reblogging it on this site. Please visit, as I do not believe in James Shaw’s idea of copying articles over from one site to another. I will offer an index here when this twelve-day celebration is over. That’s assuming I’m not racing to my next entertainment fix; I’m still debating if I want to go to Vancouver for the Guns n’ Roses Not in this Lifetime concert, to which I may have pay a pretty penny for since it’s happening during the long weekend.

In order to reveal what can be found in any Paper Street Theatre Company performance, I offer from the archives (with some revision) my review of their Tarantino show:

[Originally published on Nerd Titan, August 2013]

I’m sure this Quentin Tarantino will approve of the showcase of local Victoria city talent who decided to take on the complexities of his films. How it moves is much like Whose Line is it Anyways? with the audience giving the ideas for the performers to massage into a tale.

paper street tarantino

The best thing about this show is that it is not restrained. And nor is it restricted to one theatre group giving their take in all things Tarantino. Given their history of masterminding other improvised products that include the works of Samuel Beckett and Tennessee Williams, their experience is well-earned. Fans of improv can perform a Google search to find that throughout North America, other groups also offer a comedic take of Tarantino’s works. Their backgrounds are most likely just as good as the people who make up Paper Street Theatre. In what I know about some of the performers of this local group, they are film nerds and geeks at heart, which shows when they are recalling moments from Tarantino’s movies.

In the Victoria, B.C. production, there might be a loose plot that playwright/director Dave Morris pencilled for his crew to potentially follow every night. However, that is most unlikely the case. The talent — Byron Kjeldsen, Scott Thompson, Monica Ogden, Chris Gabel, Chris Vickers, Missie Peters, Christina Patterson, Steven Ray Orr and Dan Godlivitch — are certainly are on top of their game. There isn’t a moment where they flub their lines or are upstaged. They all work very well as a cohesive team.

On the night that this production was seen, the show began with a cute Laverne & Shirley moment that would turn into a plan of revenge. Christina Patterson nicely channelled the essence of what Laverne was like from this classic sit-com series, and when considering her tall stature was nicely contrasted with a shorter figure of Monica Ogden, the chuckles are spot-on. The set being imagined was located at the meat department of a local grocery store, Thrifty’s, and all the fun takes place in the refrigerator. But audiences should be warned, not every play will take place the same way. What’s reviewed here is a recap of one particular night’s performance.

In the next act, Morris played one of the two hit-men (much like in Pulp Fiction) who has this obsession with chips. And with an idea taken from the audience, it somehow morphed to become a reference to the all-knowing, all-seeing eye of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings. As for whether or not Morris was showing a clear love of all things Morder along with Tarantino, only his friends know.

Maybe Missie Peters does. She can easily give Uma Thurman a run for her money in the looks department! Together, they do make for a lovely couple.

But as for the flow of the show, it is so fluid that it could easily be filmed for prosperity. The best thing about improv is about unpredictability. It needs to be enjoyed live than taped and put on for broadcast. Fans of theatre and Tarantino are best advised to go see a local production. If there is no local group, then let’s hope the Paper Street Theatre Company will consider touring and bringing their version to the people of the Pacific Northwest to enjoy!

5 Stars out of 5

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One Response to “Building up to Paper Street Theatre’s War: Improv is Hell at Victoria Fringe Festival 2017”

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  1. From Chasing Rainbows to War on Day Three of Victoria Fringe Festival - August 27, 2017

    […] From my first exposure of them years ago with Improvised Quentin Tarantino [review can be read here] to Dungeons and Dragons and later The Playful Eight, I was hooked! Some might say they are […]

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