Evildoers beware: Super comedy hits A2

By Donald V. Calamia

REVIEW:

'Biff! Bang! Pow!'

Performed Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. at Improv Inferno, 309 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, throughout August. Tickets: $10. For information: (734) 214-7080 or http://www.improvinferno.com.

There's a price to pay when a super-hero slips away from a one night stand and never calls the woman - a super-villain - back.

And there's also a price to pay whenever improvisers ask the audience for suggestions that will help shape the plot of the story that will unfold shortly before their very eyes.

Both are part of the fun - and the folly - of Improv Inferno's latest comedy, "Biff! Bang! Pow!"

Its basic premise is simple: There's comic book-style danger facing the town of Happyville, and its superhero protectors are ready to defend it.

The folly is inviting the audience to decide just what the danger is, what form it takes and what superpower the hero has. It's a risk, actually, because the improvisers are stuck working with whatever brilliant or lame ideas are offered them. (Then there's what happened last Saturday night. When asked to suggest a danger, the only response the seven improvisers heard was the noise coming from Main Street. That is, until a certain theater critic offered "a meteor." Watching seven improvisers sweat bullets while coaxing an initially unresponsive audience can be quite entertaining!)

The TRUE fun, however, is watching the improvisers struggle to work the audience's suggestions in to the storyline. And for the most part, it was a fun attempt, indeed!

While the superpower - invisibility - was rather mundane (and, ultimately, not tied to the story's resolution), the meteor's rather unusual form - a large penis-shaped rock - offered the improvisers many chances to plumb the lowest depths of humor. Instead, they rose to the occasion and spewed many inspired puns. (A few weren't gems, but that's to be expected.)

Trust me: "Super Friends" was nothing like this!

Although there were a few dead spots scattered throughout the show - and a scene or two went on a little too long - "Biff! Bang! Pow!" is a laugh-filled concept with unlimited potential.

Director Pj Jakokes - who filled in last Saturday as reporter Steve Dickman - has assembled a fine cast of improvisers for his show. Sam Richardson showed great courage wearing a bulging blue costume as Unicorn Man, while Adrianna Tatti was alive with energy as his sidekick Minotaur Boy. And Garrett Fuller provided many chuckles as the penis-deprived henchman, Erector Boy.

But the highlight was Christy Bonstell as the sensuously evil villainess Flaccido, who may or may not have come from Europe. (Or was it Iowa? They're so similar!)

The Bottom Line: Although the cast and the suggestions change from show to show, what's constant is the potential for a laugh-filled evening of improv theater!

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