If you live in Ottawa and like to laugh, you should know about Crush Improv. You should know that they are a finely tuned improv machine guaranteed to not only pack an audience into a space, but to make that audience become a true part of the show unfolding in front of them. You should know that they throw themselves into each show with gusto and fearlessness, allowing themselves to connect with the audience. You should know that they have heart, soul, wit, and a variety of strange accents.
For the past year, I have been volunteering some time to help out with the box office for the monthly Crush shows at the Elmdale Tavern. The growth that I have witnessed in the performances over the past year has been pretty brilliant. They were really really good at what they did when I first saw them perform, but they have made the transition into something excellent. It’s difficult to quantify because it is improv and it changes with each show, but I can say that they seem to be quicker on their feet, not allowing scenes to lag, making for a funnier experience overall.
Last night’s edition of Crush Improv’s Crush & Friends was a great example of their skill. As part of the annual My Summer Crush Showcase, Crush has been featuring the core members of the group as well as one or two additional improvisors per show in their Pay What You Can format at the Elmdale. Every Monday night in August, it has been a real treat to see all of the members of Crush get to play on stage with special guests added into the mix. Yesterday evening also marked the final show for Brad McNeil, Crush co-founder and comedy staple, in Ottawa. He is packing up his family and moving to the West Coast, leaving behind a legacy of improv brilliance. The show last night was a real tribute to Brad and the growth of the group as they (AL Connors, Dan Lajoie, Tim Anderson, Des Connors, with special guests Jordan Moffatt and Other Dan) played an incredibly tight show with boundless laughs coming at them from the packed house. As always, the talented Glen Gower accompanied on keyboard, making this original show even more enriched with sound effects, theme and mood music.
Crush seems to have a true desire to see improv grow in Ottawa, often including fresh talent, familiar faces, and other improv groups in their line-up… so get out there and check them out! Support the arts in Ottawa by making a point to see a group of actors who are really good at making things up.
They will make you laugh. They will make you want to yell out your best suggestions when they need them. They will not falter when given a suggestion that seems impossible to use. They will make you realize that the improv scene in Ottawa is full of super talented people. They will leave you wanting more every time.