Review-Improvmania-People's Liberation Improv


Thursday we were invited to Improvmania, part of the Hong Kong Comedy Festival. It was presented at TakeOut Comedy on Elgin Street in Soho. What's funny can often be subjective. People can think different things are funny based on culture, generation, pop culture knowledge, sex, education level, orientation, political affiliation, etc. So, in order to give this show a fair shot we are having this show reviewed by two parties: The Female and The Male. Let's break down our two parties!

The Female
Late 20's, native English speaker, American, female.
The Male
Early 20's, native Cantonese speaker, Hong Kongese, male.

Based on these differences in our two writers we believe we have two people with two different backgrounds who will be able to see the show from two very different viewpoints. Onto the show!

For those of you who know nothing about improv here's a link to the page on Wikipedia. Look at the section on Improvisational Comedy, because that’s what this was, using games and story using suggestions from the audience to drive the show – and the laughter. You can also watch the hit show, "Whose Line is it Anyway?" for a more mainstream family friendly version of improv.

People’s Liberation Improv claim to be Hong Kong’s largest and only regularly performing English language comedy improvisation troupe.  You can read more about them at their website. They’ve been around long enough to tour the region but TakeOut Comedy is their home base. (Only first names were used during this show and no program was provided to us. No offense is meant if names are misspelled.)

The Good
The Female

The seven performers of People's Liberation Improv Troupe all have different strengths as performers which I feel is important. They also are from different points across the globe which I think helps with the comic strength of the group. I thought that Sean Coleman was a strong performer, as well as Chris Coleman and Chris Carmon. I feel their strongest moments as a group came in the short moments of situational comedy. The game Four Rooms was the best of the evening. I also really liked the movie sketch Amphibian Holocaust Catheters coming to a theatre near you!
The Male
This was my first time at an improv! There are seven performers in the group, and I thought it's going to be a long time "talking" show but what surprised me is that they have no script and it all depends on what the audience says during the show. Once I shout a word they immediately turned it  a interesting scene. In my opinion, interracting with the audience is a good way to let them enjoy the show and be part of the performance. Also, all the audience just kept lauging all the time (so did I). That really brought me lots of joy. Shouldn't a comedy be like that?
Bring the audience into part of the whole scene of a made up story to have fun? Chris Carmon was my favorite tonight.

The Bad
The Female

Of course, all things can be improved. These are tiny details in an overall very enjoyable show. One thing I was taught about improv in school was that you never say no. I wish the moderators of the games would have taken a stronger hold of things during the games. Sometimes the performers would say no to suggestions the moderator would make, which is a huge faux pas in the world of improv. Also the moderator would have trouble picking between ideas that people threw out and would pick two things for the players to work with. Having two things convoluted the idea in the game. Just pick one! I also had a few moments of not being able to understand what some of the actors were saying. Pronunciation is very important in improv.
The Male
Although the stories are very funny most of the jokes are very western. As a person born and raised in Hong Kong, I didn't get half of them. They could add more local pop culture references. People shouted out local references during the show but they chose to go with the western choices instead. (For example, they chose the Queen over C.Y. Leung.) I would have also liked to have seen another woman in the group, having just one is a bit limiting.

It was a very fun show and they had excellent interaction with the audience. The house audience was small which is difficult for improv members to deal with but they handled it with style. Tickets are very affordable at 150HKD. Bring your own beverage, TakeOut is conveiently located by a 7-11.  Improvmania is happening over the weekend, so stop by TakeOut Comedy at 9pm this Friday and Saturday. Checkout some of the visiting improv teams who are here to improv(e) your good humor! Xiamen, Plus One, 3 Dudes and People's Liberation Improv will be performing.

Related articles:

review, improv, hongkong

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: ---


  • Improvgirl
    14 September 2012

    Thanks for coming! Show was great!

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