The Theater of Public Policy. Sounds auspicious, doesn’t it? Either they do very serious stuff, or they make fun of very serious stuff. Actually, they do both. Monday night’s “Online Journalism” at Huge Improv Theater started with a casual interview between “host” Tane Danger and the improv group’s guests, Bob Collins, who writes the NewsCut blog for Minnesota Public Radio, and Aaron Rupar, the news blogger for City pages. Collins and Rupar were relaxed, affable and willing to impart bits of inside information. But when you’re a blogger and your employer lets you do pretty much what you want, the inside info is pretty much picking bits out of each one’s head, or something like hanging out with really good conversationalists.
Then the cast took the stage to riff on the ideas that came up in the conversations. This was a bit of a mixed bag, but totally improvised sketches can be like that. Shanan Custer is the rock star of the bunch. She not only improvises dialog, she really pays attention to what the other actors are doing. The company includes Kelly Kolbacher, Tane Danger, Brandon Boat, Andrew Haaheim, Justin Nellis and Susannah Eckberg, who zipped from one idea to the next, handing off segues like hot potatoes.
The evening was a bit like having a quirky bunch of friends dinging around in your living room. Super laid-back. But still reasonably well-organized.
In case you’ve never been there, Huge is a nifty little Uptown theater space on Lyndale just south of Lake St. There’s a bar in the back of the room and small tables in the cozy lobby. Why not venture out on a chilly November night, grab something to eat at one of the many restaurants nearby and hang out with smart, savvy theater people for a while? In fact, go more than once, because it will never be the same show twice.