4
| Comedy |

Rogue Improv Sets the Bar for Comedy at Rudyard's

^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

The set up: Houston's own Rogue Imrov troupe brings its talents to Rudyard's British Pub on Thursdays and delivers a fast-paced, impressive comedy revue. As the name suggests, each evening is different, but the level is consistently high, based on last night's performance and on previous sightings. An audience member provides a one-word theme - "camera" on this night - and the group riffs on it.

The execution: Rogue uses a "long-form" improv format, and the camera theme morphed into a number of variations. All were good, and I enjoyed a potential employer explaining to an applicant that it wasn't necessary to attach "those" kind of pictures to her application. And one was outstanding, as private-eye Matt Gawloski showed photographs to a wife of her husband's growing infidelity. Suffice it to say that what begins as a few curly hairs on a pillow can end up as the first wedding photograph of a man and a llama.

And I loved a sketch where a shy man, played by Antoine Culbreath, facing up to his first turn in a kissing booth, prevails upon a co-worker to let him practice on him with the sales pitch "It's better to start at the bottom." Kisses were $1 each, three for $2, $20 got you a five minute lap dance, and for $100 the booth was closed down for a private session. Part of the humor in these last two is the escalation element, as insanity is piled on insanity. And part of the charm is the acting - the reactions of participants can be as amusing as the dialogue.

There is a cascade of talented performers, more than can be named here. The second half of the evening was provided by the New Movement improv school, with current students strutting their stuff - Rogue Improv is the premiere troupe of the school. Much of the material here was funny and some of the acting excellent. I was especially taken with Lisa Valentine, whose high-energy and striking looks were matched by her expressive reactions and clear diction and projection. Both these latter assets, diction and projection, might be prioritized in some of the classes - mumbling went out with Marlon Brando. She was brilliant as a dance partner who kept asking questions where any answer was certain to cause trouble, such as "If you had to change any part of my body, what would it be?", while brightly assuring her partner that she would welcome any response, no matter what.

Lucas Stokesberry lent an admirable sense of authenticity to his characters; comedy is funnier when the actor believes in whatever caper is afoot.

The verdict: The antics take place on the second floor of the pub, in a generous-sized room with its own bar. Admission is $5, one of Houston's better bargains, drinks are reasonably priced, and food service is available. The ambiance is warm and casual, and a patron gets the pleasure of discovering a hidden gem, one that can be shared with friends, and revisited often, to savor again.

Thursdays (except the last Thursday of the month), Rogue Improv at Rudyard's British Pub, 2010 Waugh, 713-521-0521.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.