As sad as it is to see them go, local improv troupe the Drama Nutz went out in style with their last show, June 10 at Club Didi.
A full house laughed with some of their favourite performers from over the Nutz’s 10 year run as they performed a variety of improv games, some of which were familiar to fans of popular TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway, but with the Nutz’s own twist.
Long time performer Greg Wilson rushed down from Calgary to be part of the Drama Nutz’s last show as soon as he found out Shakespeare at the Bow’s production of Hamlet (for which he is playing playing Polonius) was rained out. He received a standing ovation as he rushed in, breathless just in time for the show to add extra guitar and a lot of laughter. He shone in the game press conference where the cast asked him questions and he had to determine who he was and what he was announcing (Martha Stewart going back to prison).
The evening was set up chronologically with some of the troupe’s original members including Jonny Kirsch, Jon MacBurnie, Marty Blank and Hannah Rud plus founder David Gabert reuniting to play some much beloved games.
I caught the last song of the opening set of acoustic folk from guitarist Nick Bohle, who would return to add the soundtrack to some of the musical themed games on keyboards while Wilson added extra guitar.
After a prerecorded intro featuring the big voice of Jon Kirsch, the games began as Gabert related some of the troupe’s history beginning with the gunfights at Fort Whoop-Up, which was interrupted by the pre-record telling Gabert that people were there to hear improv, not Gabert talking.
Back in the day you could always count on Kirsch to go to the bad place during the games, though that is part of the fun, but Gabert stopped him before his jokes could get too blue especially during one of my favourites “Good, Bad and Ugly,” featuring Rud, Blank and Kirsch offering good band and downright ugly advice to a variety of audience questions.
Mark Ogle was a highlight never fearing to get a little racy. As usual “Party Quirks,” was a hoot with Marty Blank as the host trying to guess who was Donald Trump (Jon MacBurnie), Snow White (Hannah Rud) and a guy who had just been circumcised (Jonny Kirsch).
It was amazing to see not only how much they had changed, but how many of them had gone on to bigger and better things.
The next generation featured Erica Barr, Jeff Newman, Greg Wilson, Mark Ogle and Hannah Rud.
Slideshow was a highlight of that set featuring Mark Ogle showing slides of his “vacation in a gay club in Raymond” for which he described the poses of a variety of cast members.
Erica Barr was a highlight in a game called “Sounds Like a Song” where Barr and Ogle had to perform a monologue hosted by Gabert who who choose one of their phrases to make a song out for which Greg Wilson and Nick Bohle would play the music
Hannah Rud and Mark Ogle also played another highlight— “Alphabet,” where they had to tell a story a sentence at a time in order of the alphabet beginning with the letter “Q.”
They ended the first set with “Irish Drinking Song.”
The second set mostly featured current members Erinn Watson, Emily Schoen, Allie Price and Brandon Eyck, supplemented by the talents of the older members.
They began with press conference, getting Wilson to guess, using the reporter’s questions, that he was Martha steward announcing she was going back to prison.
Erica Barr and David Gabert had a lot of fun with a game called “Oscar Moment.”
Camille Pavlenko and the always frenetic Brandon Eyck were highlight throughout.
A highlight near the end of the show was “Film Noir,” featuring Jonny Kirsch as a private eye trying to decide the identify the perpetrator of a crime.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor