The Vancouver Sun, January 1, 2019
Throwdown — International TheatreSports Festival
When: Until Jan. 27 (opens Jan. 2)
Where: Improv Centre
Tickets: from $10.75 at vtsl.com
1. The MMA of improv. The annual improv celebration features TheatreSports teams from other cities in quip-to-quip combat with each other and with local teams comprised of Vancouver TheatreSports improvisers.
2. Returning champs. Competition winner (for the last three years) SAK Comedy Lab from Orlando, Florida is back. “I personally believe this is the best festival I have ever been a part of,” SAK’s Emily Fontano tells us. “I would go annually to that beautiful city to watch geniuses at work and playing together even if I wasn’t competing.”
3. From Hellingham they come. International improv star Ryan Stiles is the owner (and janitor, according to the theatre’s website) of Bellingham, WA’s Upfront Theatre. Known for long-form narrative shows such as the murder mystery Hellingham, Upfront is also sending a team to compete in this year’s Throwdown.
4. Totally Screwbuki. Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, competing company On the Spot incorporates “narrative storytelling, minimal dialogue, and strong blocking to create cinematic images to tell complex stories,” according to its website. Their original formats include an homage to that master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock; a 1920s-style silent-movie show; and a fully improvised Kabuki-style show called, naturally, Screwbuki. (Note: Portland’s Curious Comedy Theatre also performs.)
5. Winner takes all (bragging rights, mostly). The winners of the visiting teams competitions compete with the local victors in a no-holds-barred improv slugfest on the final night of the Throwdown, Jan. 27.