PROJECTproject COMBUSTIONfestival: for people who seriously dig anything remotely awesome.

By Meghan Hubley
Thursday night at the Comedy Bar could have easily been one of the liveliest, joyful, and ridiculous nights I have experienced there. (And that, TWISI-ites, is saying something; I mean the place is called COMEDY BAR for cryin’ out loud.)
CRUSH (NYC) was up first. Imagine eight bodies of energy and wit playing as a team, riffing for a good 45 minutes on one simple suggestion from the audience: ‘foot.’ Their 8 voices melded together and played off each other creating ocean waves and a Broadway show, their bodies becoming submarine sides, boat masts, and giant under water spiders. I was completely in love with the crew, (Brandon Lisy, Brian Bockrath, Steve Horak, Chet Siegel, Nick Kanellis, Frank Bonomo, Lauren Olson & Taylor White… directed by Christian Capozzoli) not even 10 minutes in. Our hosts for the evening warned us that CRUSH was going to “rock your pants off.” And metaphorically I was embarrassed, because I sure was not in my skinny jeans by the end of this set.
Next on stage were “improv royalty” from Winnipeg, CRUMBS. Lee White & Steve Sim, riffing on audience suggestions of ‘popsicle’ and ‘respiratory therapist.’ The two were joined by live improvised music that ranged from a country-western creep to epic Nintendo-sounding super hero music. It is astonishing to see these two men onstage together; building with what the music is giving them and completely in tune with their counterpart. They created the basement of a hospital so vividly with just the two of them, I felt like I was reading ‘The Bell Jar.” I have no words to describe; really, my mind was blown out of its skull. The Facebook event said, “Miss this show and hate yourself.”DON’T WORRY GANG…you, too, can love yourself by coming out at 9pm tonight to see CRUMBS perform once more.
The 9:30 pm show began with 4TRACK (Christian Capozzoli & members from CRUSH [NYC]) who got the suggestion ‘cheese.’ Nothing is more enjoyable to watch than artists taking care of each other and becoming completely engrossed in sense of play. There were dinosaurs. There was a horrific director on a film set. There was picture day in Hicksville, where the kids’ skin is so shiny it causes glare on the camera. There was magic, absolute magic.
The evening wrapped up with one of the coolest projects I’ve heard of. It was a gigantic movie project; directors and improvisers filmed different beginnings of a film, ending at cliff-hangers, the stakes held high. As they ended, different improvisers, doppelgangers, rushed onto the stage and had to pick up where the clip had ended. The movies themselves were hilarious, and the after effect of people forced into monkey suits, T arantino-esque living rooms, and outer-space, was fantastically funny. This is one amazing (PROJECT) project, indeed.
TONIGHT is your last night to catch the COMBUSTION festival. At 8: The Kid is Hot 2night showcase:“After an intense audience-choice long form elimination tournament that started in February with more than 64 improvisers, only 6 are left standing. And they are here to play for you. Find out who made it all the way…” All this is to be followed by some amazing HALIFAMOUS improvisers and writers, MARK LITTLE and ANDY BUSH from Picnicface. They hold a special place in my heart because Andy taught me at Neptune Theatre many years ago and Mark helped whip my high-school improv team into some sort of shape when I was a wee teenager. Now they are here in Toronto being exceptionally awesome and you should PROBABLY HEAD OUT to see them!
9:30 tonight is when, as I said, CRUMBS will be up once more, and then the festival explodes to an ending with Samurai Davis Jr. & Dim Sum’s Super Mega Happy Fun Time Improv Show. Facebook says; “This improv/Japanese game show/edible gross-out sensation from Atlanta’s Dad’s Garage Theatre (Amber Nash, Chris Blair & special guests) will destroy you. With laughter.”
There’s not much to say, readers. Just do your heart a favor and get out to the Comedy Bar (945b Bloor St. W.) tonight! $8 for one show, $12 for two shows on the same night – available at the door.

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