A battle of the sexes waged through theatre games

Chimera Theatre’s Freudian Slips Improv Troupe lets you in on the joke

Jessica Buchanan and Montana VanVelzen of the Freudian Slips Improve Troupe. (Marlys Klossner/The Omega)

Jessica Buchanan and Montana VanVelzen of the Freudian Slips Improve Troupe. (Marlys Klossner/The Omega)

In the battle of the sexes, the men have come out on top. At least, that was the result of the showdown between the members of the Freudian Slips Improv Troupe at the Stage House Theatre on Jan. 16. Both sides consistently delivered laughs, leading to a tie-breaking final round.

The Stage House was the perfect venue for the show. The small size meant the show felt more intimate, putting the audience at ease and giving a feeling of familiarity, even if it was your first time seeing the troupe. The Stage House is a little grungier than Kamloops’ other theatres, but the basement-feel fit the informal fun vibe of an improv show.

While the actors were not afraid to push buttons, it didn’t feel like they were using raunchy or controversial material to get cheap laughs. There were equal parts smart humour and good old-fashioned poop jokes.

The show drew an unexpectedly large crowd of around 60 and the audience had to reposition so they could add more chairs.

“Luckily the audience has always been really nice to us and really forgiving. Even if we do mess up, they kind of laugh, so I think we’re very supported by people in the community,” said co-director Jessica Buchanan.

Host Derek Rein (right) explains the rules of the next theatre game while Kelsey Launier (middle) and Brittany McCarthy (left) look on. (Marlys Klossner/The Omega)

Host Derek Rein (right) explains the rules of the next theatre game while Kelsey Launier (middle) and Brittany McCarthy (left) look on. (Marlys Klossner/The Omega)

Throughout the show, you quickly got to know the different styles of the actors and could really appreciate how well they worked off of each other. Even between games they took every opportunity to joke around.

“You have to think on your feet and for whatever reason I love that. I love working with other people and I love making people laugh,” said Brittany McCarthy, the other co-director.

After each round, the winning team chose a member of the losing team to take a mystery shot of some of the drinks sold at the concession. At the end of the show, the final shot was a mix of all the different drinks, and instead of choosing one of the women to take it, the men turned on the host, Derek Rein. A comedy show host can make or break the mood of the room, and Derek did a great job, reluctantly downing the shot after the audience began chanting his name.

Although only two of the dozen games required audience volunteers, the audience still felt very much a part of the show. There was a natural camaraderie between the actors and spectators. Unlike some stand-up comedy, you felt like you were in on the joke.

“[The audience] knows what they’re getting themselves into and they’re in it. They’re invested right from the get-go. If you’re really committed to everything you say and you don’t cringe when you say it, the audience is going to dive right in with you,” McCarthy said.

The Freudian Slips’ next show on Feb. 20 will be Mission Improv-able, a free agent battle royale with only one winner. In March, they will face off against competitors from the TRU Drama and Theatre club, which McCarthy co-founded while she was in university.