‘You mixed your Russian dramatist with my Cree origin story!"
Actually, Anton Chekhov’s dour realism never crosses over into the whimsical aboriginal tale of how the sun was formed, but watching Edmonton duo Todd Houseman and Ben Gorodetsky take on the two opposing styles, you believe the playwright’s characters could have been around at the beginning of time.
The improv performers examine three different styles of folk storytelling over the course of 45 minutes, including one suggested by the audience (on opening night, it was the 20th-century, action-filled buddy-cop feature). Houseman and Gorodetsky switch between stories easily, handle each other’s cues effortlessly and can finish each other’s sentences, no matter how quickly the lines are coming.
And even when the drama got heavier, there were still some laughs to be had. When you can wring guffaws out of regretful Chekhovian characters, that’s a talent.
— Rob Williams