The setting? A Victorian-era drawing room. The characters? Two English gentleman. The story? Well my darlings that changes every time as Bandolier of Dreams is a hilarious hour of improv from Matt Goldberg and Mike Hughes- aka two members of the long-running comedy troupe Uncalled For.
At the story telling shows I’ve seen this year’s Montreal Fringe festival, I’ve come to have great respect for the talent it takes to keep an audience engrossed in your story. Improv I feel like takes it up a notch. Not only do you have to keep an audience entertained, but you’re under the added pressure of making it all up as you go along (and in this show all while speaking in an English accent!). I assume Goldberg and Hughes set out very loose parameters of where they want the story to go and have fun props like tea trays, wine bottles and telephones to keep the show moving along.
Needless to say, Goldberg and Hughes hit it out of the park. The two have an easy and obvious chemistry that comes from their years working together, and are professionals in the art of improvisation. There were times when Goldberg came close to breaking character and bursting out laughing but honestly, it only added to the silly atmosphere. As their Fringe profile declares, you come to this show for the “comedy experience”, not serious theatre.
I had even greater respect for the difficulties of creating witty banter on the spot when yours truly got called up onstage in an audience cameo role. I caught on to some of the tricks of improv; your actors will feed you ideas you can build on by asking questions or open ended statements. I came up with much more amusing things I could have said on the metro ride home then I did on stage, but it was a fun experience none the less. (Oh and that wine they drink onstage folks is definitely real so thanks for the drink guys!) Remember to give a wink to Hughes during the show and who knows, maybe you’ll end up a star of Bandolier of Dreams as well.
Bandolier of Dreams plays at Theatre Sainte Catherine until June 22nd.