If you’re looking for a night filled with awesome music, impromptu dance parties, and uncontrollable laughter, make sure you take in a Throwback Theatresports show.
Vancouver Theatresports League (VTSL)’s latest improvised production paid tribute to the 1980s — the decade of colourful neon, big hair, and drug use. The tribute to the decade is also in celebration of their 35th anniversary, as VTSL began putting on shows in 1980.
Theatresports members were divided into two teams and participated in several ’80s-themed improv challenges in order to rack up points from three designated audience judges. Nearly all of the challenges required audience input or suggestions for setup, as everything from ’80s movies to music to trends came from the enthusiastic audience, in a style reminiscent of Whose Line is it Anyway?
The audience also got to join the fun by participating in dance parties as the night went on, which were signaled by the lights going down and music playing at any point during the show.
One highlight of the evening included a scene with team member Bill Pozzobon and VTSL alumnus Christine Lippa, in which Lippa applied for a job at Expo ’86’s McDonald’s tent. If that wasn’t interesting enough, they had to incorporate lyrics from Madonna’s songs into the scene’s dialogue by picking up and reading from papers that had her lyrics written on them. The result was a hilarious and non-sensical job interview that showcased Madonna’s lyrics in a whole new light.
Pozzobon also hilariously parodied the ’80s classic MacGyver as he whipped together a concoction of bathroom items to save a deranged husband (Tom Hill) from murdering his wife (Angela Galanopoulos) with a toothbrush.
The talent of the teams was especially evident during a scene called “The Endowment Challenge,” in which team member Michael Robinson was assigned three characteristics by the audience whose identity he had to figure out as he performed the scene, using subtle clues from his fellow team members. He brilliantly and precisely guessed that he was supposed to be a man who enjoyed sewing a squash while in a jail cell — three unrelated events that he was able to derive from those who were acting around him.
The commitment to their characters never wavered with this cast, even as they switched from scene to scene. Their dedication to honouring the ’80s was evident, from the Rubik’s cube boxes that brightened the stage to their big hair and colourful leggings. Robinson even donned the original jumpsuit he wore when he performed for VTSL in the ’80s.
Throwback Theatresports made for an evening of hearty laughs and entertainment, as it highlighted one of the most awesome decades of all time. While it made me wish I had been alive during the ’80s, I was at least able to glimpse at this amazing era, thanks to this phenomenal cast.