Review by Ben Coleman
Improvised by Rebecca Vigil and Evan Kaufman
Off Off Broadway, Musical
Runs through 8.30.15 (7pm)
VENUE #4: Spectrum, 121 Ludlow Street, 2nd Floor
BOTTOM LINE: An evening filled with laughs as two musical improvisors reenact love stories from select audience members.
Musical theatre and improvisation is not a combination one typically thinks of as “winning.” How do they make up the songs? Do they have to rhyme on the spot too? What about duets? And the biggest question: is this going to be awkward? The intersection of these two forms certainly seems fraught. However, in the capable hands of Rebecca Vigil and Evan Kaufman, mixing musical theatre with improv is just as delicious as mixing chocolate and peanut butter. Your Love, Our Musical! proves to be a highly entertaining evening where songs and stories collide in an explosion of silliness and hilarity. Skeptics, leave your doubts at the door.
After walking up two flights of stairs, the audience takes their seats in a crowded apartment amidst a selection of folding chairs, bucket seats, recliners, and couches. The books and CDs on the wall indicate we are in a person’s home, and the lighting operator working from the island kitchen is another hefty clue. A piano, bass, and drum set are stationed in the designated performance area, and from a door in the back enter our hosts. Kaufman, tall and bearded, and Vigil, big-haired with mischief in her eyes, welcome their guests jovially, and then pose the question that will define the evening: “Who here is in love?”
Timid hands raise, and a couple is selected. At the performance I attended, the chosen pair were a British couple who had been together for 17 years. The first part of the performance is talkshow style Q&A, rich in as many laughs and jokes as the musical improv section that will inevitably follow. Vigil asks how they met, and the man in question responds that he first ran into his wife on his doorstep when he was “skiving off” from work. This English turn of phrase proved to be quite the lyrical gem in the second half of the show when Kaufman delivered a surprisingly dextrous number, you guessed it, “Skiving Off,” where he professes the need to “skive to stay alive, and skiv to live.” Of course with any long-form-improv (not to mention when it is of the musical variety) there are peaks and valleys, and while a vast majority of the repartee is witty and side-splitting, there are bound to be other moments that don’t stick their landing.
Overall, Your Love, Our Musical!, is a swell balance of hilarious and charming. It’s delightful to watch the chemistry between these musical improvisors as they broadly act out the love stories from their audience members. With a sharp tongue beneath their warm smiles, Vigil and Kaufman prove to be lively hosts with a deadly sense of humor.
(Your Love, Our Musical! plays at VENUE #4: Spectrum, 121 Ludlow Street, 2nd Floor, through August 30, 2015. Performances are Fri 8/14 at 7; Sun 8/16 at Noon; Sat 8/22 at 10:30; Wed 8/26 at 7:15; and Sun 8/30 at Noon. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $18 and are available at fringenyc.org. For more information visit www.yourloveourmusical.com.)