Presented by SiriuslyZiggy Productions
Critically Acclaimed Superhero Movie is a sketch comedy improv show with a premise that is, well, self-explanatory. Through a QR code, audience members can suggest a variety of prompts for our wacky duo—Jessalyn Ferguson and Jimmer Lowe. These details are then worked into what I imagine is a pre-determined structure and—SHAZAM!—a Superhero Movie Plot!
At the opening performance, our hero was named Petunia, the Plant Whisperer. She’s given a tragic backstory and a villain to fight—his name escapes me, but his power was bad puns! Along the way, there are ridiculous hijinks and lots of banter. A zucchini figures prominently.
Ferguson and Lowe have a comfortable, appealing dynamic. This is important because improv is usually—essentially, I would argue—self-aware; a lot of the appeal is watching specific people work through the awkward mechanics of improvisational comedy and enjoying each other.
There were a lot of references to Toronto, theatre and Fringe specifically. Whoever suggested the “Artistic Producer” character had a stroke a genius. I thoroughly enjoyed the only slightly exaggerated allusions to sketchy, off-Fringe park performances siphoning off festival patrons.
In a neat bit of pre-show world-building, Marvel-esque music plays as trivia and app games appear on the large background screen. It sparked my nostalgia for Cineplex’s TimePlay. I rarely did play, but I fondly remember watching it unfold and telling myself I would certainly win if I had.
I had a great time with all the zany shenanigans! Ferguson and Lowe maintain a consistent energy and deliver on cute call-backs and satisfying pay-offs. I hope they get some sold-out shows. I expect that the vibe of a packed house would heighten the experience greatly.
As part of their schtick, they made several references to the presence of reviewers, trying to suss out their identities, flashing bribe money and laying the compliments on thick. And sure, I’ll take the compliments and that 50 bucks! 😉