What is student life without at least one obligatory improv show? While Amsterdam seems to be full to bursting with any number of comedy nights, stand-up shows, and cabarets, international students might have some issues trying to satisfy this unwritten collegial requirement. Luckily, however, for those of us who haven’t mastered the Dutch language yet, CREA cafe will be hosting English improv comedy shows every Friday until the end of April. The question is: are they worth it? These are my impressions after attending the 18th of March Level 1 class showcase.
The show opened with the graduating (improv) class, eight beginners who took to the stage with varying degrees of confidence and wit, but unwavering enthusiasm. Still, armed with a drink and a bit of indulgence it was easy to sit back and enjoy a half-hour performance dotted with many well-delivered quips and a few genuinely hilarious moments.
After a fifteen-minute break, we were invited back for the next act: an entirely improvised comedy musical. If you are one of the people who winced at reading this you may cringe even further when hearing the suggested prompt -shouted out by a decisive eight-year-old in the audience- “Pokémon!”. What followed however was thirty minutes of wickedly funny one-liners, colourful characters, and surprisingly good singing. The troupe clearly had plenty of on-stage experience, which made up for the fact that they could probably name no more than three pokémons between them.
Finally, after another break, the show finished with a series of short musical improvisation scenes and games, with audience members being encouraged to join the performers on stage. Anyone who might enjoy a brief moment in the spotlight will be pleased to know that every easylaughs show this season will end with such a performance.
I cannot end this review without taking a moment to discuss the brilliant people in charge of lights and sound that adapted to the rapid shifts of every scene and gave even the more lacklustre moments at least the aura of authenticity. Even more remarkable was the pianist who accompanied each quip, silence, and song with phenomenal improvisation, which really managed to tie together every single act and saved any awkward pauses or misdelivered punchlines which may have slipped through- especially during the first act.
Overall, if you’re looking for fun and relatively cheap evening’s entertainment you should absolutely consider the easylaughs shows at CREA cafe. If you’d like a moment onstage without the hassle of taking a class, if you suspect one of your friends of possessing hidden talents—or if you just wish they had a better outlet for that annoying theatre-kid energy—this is definitely the comedy night for you