Theater Review: Pavlov’s Dogs Improv Comedy Show

Chris and I went to an improv show by Pavlov’s Dogs at the Dallas Comedy House. The show is called End of the Month and is an “improvised show that is built around things that happened earlier that month” on the news. Off to the side of the stage sits a TV screen with dated news headlines scrolling past. Chris pointed out that the headlines were still dated 2014 even though the headlines were centered around the upcoming 2015 Superbowl. While slightly distracting, I thought it added to the weirdness of the show. Everyone was instructed to fill out a slip of paper of something interesting that happened to them that month and then deposit it in a bucket on the stage.

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The show starts out as though the audience is watching a live news show. Headlines are pulled from the television screen to the left of the stage and the troupe members act as anchors and then proceed to act out the scenes. I really enjoyed the “bits” that the anchors were able to come up with on the spot, but the re-enactment of the news scenes made for a rough start to the show. Only when the troupe moved on to Detectives Barry and The Cobra did the show pick up speed and laughs. Playing off of TV tropes and bad cop/good cop routines Detective Barry and Detective The Cobra had the room erupting in laughter as they attempted to solve a murder.

The last game is one where the actors are gathered at the local watering hole to discuss their days as news anchors, detectives, and investigative reporters. During this time one member of the troupe begins to tell a story and then ends it by reading off the pieces of paper from the bucket. What would seemingly be disjointed turned into a hilarious comedy piece as the real “interesting” things that happened to members of the audience are distorted, re-enacted, and tied to earlier routines by the troupe.

While off to a rather slow and rough start, the troupe rallied as they continued to play their games on stage. I laughed really hard when the detectives where on stage and during a few of the watering hole pieces, and not just because I’d had two drinks and a bag of Skittles. Improv comedy may not be fun for everyone as it can include a lot of awkward moments, but occasionally it also results in laughing until you are in tears. In fact watching the troupe interact with each other and the audience, and listening as a room full of people gave themselves over to the moment with laughter and giggles made me long to get back into improv acting myself.

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