Rare Bird Show

"A-List" - Philadephia Weekly, 11-2-2005
Philadelphia Improv Festival
Fri., Nov. 4, 6pm-midnight; Sat., Nov. 5, 5:30pm-midnight. $15-$50. Theatre at 2111 Sansom St. www.phillyimprov.com/festival

In the world of improv, New York and Chicago are holy ground. After all, their Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade theaters seem to churn out the entire cast of Saturday Night Live. Being situated between the two iconic locales has Philadelphia's flourishing improv community champing at the bit for recognition.

In order to widen the field, members of Philly's Village Idiutz conceived of the city's first national improv festival, a two-day affair with 24 troupes from around the country, including Philly's own LunchLady Doris, Rare Bird Show, ComedySportz Philly, Industrial Improv, the Cabal, the N Crowd, the Ninjas, ZombieShark, Killer Pussy and 13 Skirts.

Saturday culminates in a headlining performance from the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company, and UCBers Chris Gethard and Anthony King will lead workshops focusing on advanced scenework techniques. The festival is an important step in showcasing the passions and talents of newcomers. What's the draw? Improver Alexis Simpson chalks it up to "having nothing and making something wonderful."

(Emily Brochin)