01 December at 09:47
by REMY SCALZA on November 30, 2015, Tourism Vancouver Inside Vancouver
Ho ho … ha? A new improv comedy show in Vancouver is promising to put an off-beat, off-kilter and laugh-out-loud funny spin on holiday theatre this Christmas season.
From the creative minds at Vancouver TheatreSports League comes Christmas Queen 2 – You Better Watch Out, on through Dec. 20 at the Improv Centre on Granville Island. This is the second incarnation of the Christmas Queen saga and has to rank among the weirdest, edgiest and most heartwarming holiday fare on offer in Vancouver this year.
The show is inspired by the venerable tradition of British pantomime or panto. This uniquely irreverent form of theatre is typically performed during the holidays and features plenty of characters in drag, lots of physical humour, plenty of ribald jokes and innuendo, some singing and, of course, a healthy dose of audience participation.
The protagonist of Christmas Queen 2 is, you guessed it, the Christmas Queen – a blue-haired villain Hell-bent on wrecking Christmas for the rest of us. The production is set in the North Pole at Santa’s workshop, where the Queen is causing a whole lot of chaos in the week leading up the big day. The elves, the reindeer, Santa and Mrs. Claus … no one is safe from the hijinks of the dastardly Christmas Queen.
This being improv, each night these plot lines are woven into a different story. Actors on stage incorporate the sometimes helpful, often outlandish, suggestions from audience members as they improvise their way toward a different conclusion each performance. Along the way, we get to meet an ever-evolving cast of quirky characters from the North Pole, all of whom band together in an effort to save Christmas.
Acting out a brand new Christmas classic with each performance may sound like an uphill battle, but the pros at Vancouver TheatreSports League are up to the challenge. Founded in 1980, the League is regarded as one of the most progressive and accomplished improv troupes in the world. Luminaries to have passed through their doors include Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie from TV’s Whose Line is it Anyway, as well as a host of movie and sitcom stars. They draw more than 60,000 enthusiasts every year to their waterfront home at the Improv Centre on Granville Island.
Be forewarned: Christmas Queen 2 will be over-the-top silly, with convoluted plot twists, a mix of one-liners and slapstick and an ending that may make little or no sense. But if you’re tired of the usual holiday entertainment – the Nutcrackers and It’s a Wonderful Lives and Grinches Who Stole Christmas and all the other predictable yuletide fare – it might just save Christmas for you.