Vancouver Sun

Shawn Conner offers five reasons to check out Throwdown, the Internatio­nal TheatreSpo­rts Festival.


1. The MMA of improv

The annual improv celebratio­n features TheatreSpo­rts teams from other cities in quip-toquip combat with each other and with local teams comprised of Vancouver TheatreSpo­rts improviser­s.

2. Returning champs

Competitio­n winner (for the last three years) SAK Comedy Lab from Orlando is back. “I personally believe this is the best festival I have ever been a part of,” SAK’s Emily Fontano tells us. “I would go annually to that beautiful city to watch geniuses at work and playing together even if I wasn’t competing.”

3. From Hellingham they come

Internatio­nal improv star Ryan Stiles is the owner (and janitor, according to the theatre’s website) of Bellingham, Wash.’s Upfront Theatre. Known for long-form narrative shows, such as the murder mystery Hellingham, Upfront is also sending a team to compete in this year’s Throwdown.

4. Totally Screwbuki

Based in Honolulu, competing company On the Spot incorporat­es “narrative storytelli­ng, minimal dialogue, and strong blocking to create cinematic images to tell complex stories,” according to its website. Their original formats include an homage to that master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock; a 1920s-style silentmovi­e show; and a fully improvised Kabuki-style show called, naturally, Screwbuki. (Note: Portland’s Curious Comedy Theatre also performs.)

5. Winner takes all (bragging rights, mostly)

The winners of the visiting teams competitio­ns compete with the local victors in a no-holdsbarre­d improv slugfest on the final night of the Throwdown, Jan. 27.

 ??  ?? Emily Fontano
Emily Fontano

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