Note: This review was posted on the KC Stage review system.
“Cowtown — A Holy Cow! Improv Show”, written, directed and produced by Holy Cow! Improv (part of the KC Fringe Festival). First produced 2011. (Seen July 23, 2011.)
Improv is a tough beast of a performance. People’s expectations are high, especially if they’re familiar with Who’s Line is it Anyway? (I preferred the British version myself), and no two shows will ever be the same.
The July 23rd presentation of “Cowtown — A Holy Cow! Improv Show” was actually two improv companies, Holy Cow! Improv and Babel Fish, and was a spotty batch of an evening.
“When we drink, we should drink as a family.” After a couple of warm-ups, Holy Cow! Improv did what is known as a Harold. A longform style, a Harold (according to Wikipedia) is a series of skits that develop organically from each other, where the content (based on a suggestion from the audience) grows from the previous bits.
The group, comprised of two women and three men, did do a good job of keeping the various characters and scenes going. They did seem to be on top of when the scene just was in a rut, but there were too many ruts for me and the comedy was sporadic at best. There were some good bits, especially the rap, but in the end I was whelmed.
“It’s the Heisenberg theory of adultery.” Babel Fish, comprised of four men, also did a variation on the Harold, although they readily admitted that it differed because they wanted to change the rules. If you recognize anything from their name, you will not be surprised that they had a high geek quotient to their content, even doing about five minutes worth of physics jokes alone, which I really enjoyed. I also liked their beginning, which was a series of bits about an audience suggestion – this time about forks. But again, when it wasn’t working, it REALLY wasn’t working, and the scene was brought to a screeching halt as a result.
“This plot makes no fucking sense!” Improv is like beauty, and is in the eye of the beholder. While I didn’t particularly find this presentation to be especially funny, the lady in front of me couldn’t stop laughing. The July 23rd performance was a little rough, but as I said no two shows are the same. So, if you’re a fan of improv, it might be worth the chance. Holy! Cow has some control of the improv beast, and it’s the possibility of it going feral that makes it worth the watching.
“Cowtown – A Holy Cow! Improv Show” has three more performances, and tickets are $8. For more information, visit the KC Fringe Festival website.
Read all of my Fringe reviews here.