Monday Night Lights is an, unscripted sports melodrama presented on the last Monday of every month by Sex T-Rex at Bad Dog Cafe. Every show works with the framework of a loose narrative set around high-school melodrama in a town where sports are king, and everything revolves around what happens at “the big game.”
The episode I attended kicks off with callers dialling into a radio station to express their excitement over the big game. They hoping nothing happens to the star player, who, right on cue, is abducted by aliens.
I can say that without worrying about spoilers because as is so often the case with improv, suggestions from the audience drive the direction of the performance. This Monday was no different. “Abducted by aliens” was a suggestion shouted by one of the audience members and the cast rolled with it.
It’s all made up on the spot. There is no carefully constructed plot or sharp dialogue here, but if you like goofball comedies, then this is the show for you.
The cast mostly riffed off stereotypical cultural archetypes; the angst-ridden teenager, the coach who gives pep talks, the girl next door and the pretty girl who just transferred from Canada.
It was funny, but I felt the cast went for the easy laughs – the tried and true tropes. It was fun in the same way watching your friends goof around is fun.
There were different levels of skill on the stage. Everyone was funny, but some people were better at keeping the action moving than others. In improv, there is the tried-and-true rule of “yes, and” which is just a way of saying “go along with what your fellow improvisers have presented to you.” This is a vital part of improv; you accept and work with what the other performers give you. But being able to move on from a situation is important too. There were times I would have been able to stay more engaged if it didn’t feel like improvisers got stuck in a scenario.
In contrast, Kaitlin Morrow and Connor Bradbury were absolutely hilarious. Bradbury was an angsty teenager donning a long black wig, his every utterance dripping with melodrama. Morrow, whose Southern accent is second to none, was also instrumental in jumping in when a scene seemed to lag.
Overall, this show is fun in an easy, relaxed sort of way. It’s a fun non-challenging way to spend an evening.
- Monday Night Lights takes place monthly the last Monday of each month at Bad Dog Theatre (875 Bloor St. W)
- Shows start at 8pm
- Tickets are $10 and available online or at the door