Scott & Ellie project lots of energy in PIT duo improv show.
they can run on a little too long at some of the bits they find,
the improv duo Scott & Ellie do project a lot of enthusiastic
energy and distinct skill at capturing the funny absurdities of
situations and playing those up successfully.
at the People’s Improv Theater in the 8 p.m. Saturday night slot
(to which they return on April 22), Scott Eckert and Ellie
Kemper gave themselves more fodder to work with by using full
sentences selected randomly from a stack of books as their
improv suggestions. The first sign of life was Scott seizing on
a character constantly claiming himself to be a “manly man”
while acting as feminine as possible, espousing unisex cologne
CK1 as the secret to his manliness.
establishing a few pairs of characters from a few different
suggestions, Scott & Ellie returned a few times to each pair, at
first adding more to their worlds, but in the last go-round
seemingly finding themselves at a bit of a loss for what more to
do with them -- going to pulling out all kinds of random props
sitting back stage, veering into schtick and clowning rather
of this was a pair of male loggers the duo played, who like
Scott’s “manly man,” played up their masculinity while
constantly running back to “base” for luxuries. By the last
appearance of this pair, though, the random props came into
play. Some pairs of characters fared better than others when it
came to the duo knowing what more could be told of their story.
If the duo didn’t have an idea, they got by on the mannerisms
and quirks. With their energy, Scott & Ellie do entertain, but
hopefully they will hone the storytelling needed when revisiting
pairs of characters as the format for their improv.
In the show
preceding Scott & Ellie, called Psychic Improv, the sealing of
the suggestion in an envelope, forcing the trio of Boston-based
performers to in effect make their own suggestion (and see later
if it matched) became something of a red herring. This group has
a little further to go -- the scenes they presented tended to
play too much just with a phrase or an idea without really
exploring what the characters meant to each other or what the
stakes of scenes were -- which are the roads to bigger laughs.
Improv performs at 7 p.m. and Scott & Ellie perform at 8 p.m. on
Saturday, April 22 at the People’s Improv Theater.