Everybody gets one…chance at proving they’re good at improv.

You know when your theatre friends swear to you that improv is good? But you’ve only ever seen shitty improv so you don’t believe them? 

I promise you! This is good improv, believe me!

Dog Martin Comedy’s Too Much Information Improvised was a part of the 2022 Kingston Fringe, produced by The Kick & Push Festival. It is performed by two real life exes, Paddy MacDonald and Steph Haller. The allure of the work is the fact that they used to be in a romantic relationship with one another, so the expectation is that maybe there is fighting, and lots of tension. It was a lovely surprise that there was not, like none at all, unless the performance called for it. The two were both very comfortable with one another, which extended forward into their relation with the audience. 

They begin the show by asking audience questions, like, “What’s their favorite rom-com? Their favorite love song? What is something they would like to say to their ex?” These questions served not only as a great way for audiences to be comfortable in the space, but also as a way for the duo to get prompts and inspiration for their scenes. The themes of the night were “forgiveness” and “everybody gets one”. 

Feeling already involved and invested in the work as an audience member, it was really fun to watch their improvised scenes. Each scene was juxtaposed with a monologue from one of the two. In their monologues, they told stories about their relationships, how it happened, the heart-break, the mediocre sex. They spoke the truth about who they were at times, even if they did not like that person very much anymore. Vulnerability mixed in with the improv scenes gave us space to understand the two of them as people, and as an audience member, I really appreciated it. 

They were not characters the whole time, so when they did become characters, it was lovely to watch them build, understand, and misunderstand one another. One of my favorite scenes was  when MacDonald acted as an absent father and Haller was the abandoned child. We are always taught that in improv, you must say “Yes, and,” yet for this scene, much of McDonald’s lines were met with a “No, and.” MacDonald would ask for hugs, or to tickle Haller as he did when the child was young, but Haller had already established that she would rather not be touched. Though she declined his offers, the scene still went on, and it was entertaining! 

Too Much Information Improvised was a perfect Improv show for me because they not only listened to one another, but the care was visible. The entire work was an honest conversation that brought me into it, and it did not try hard to be hilarious. I laughed alongside them because they let me into their previously failed, but newfound relationship. 

Too Much Information Improvised ran from August 5-14, 2022 at Theatre Kingston’s Fringe Festival, produced by The Kick & Push Festival. Check out their social media page here.