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Left to right: Melissa Heiman, Kara Clem and Alex Knight improvise a scene for a series of skits called “The Show.” The performers take suggestions from the audience for lines, scenes or characters to depict or incorporate into the “comic gold” they spin on the spot. “The Show” runs through Dec. 19.

Improv team sharply funny

Improvisation demands intense confidence and the ability to think on your feet, and performers in “The Show” make it look easy.

Six actors, accompanied by musician Seymour Muchmore, take cues from the audience for each sketch, turning suggested locations, relationships and dialogue into comic gold.

No idea seems off limits — in fact, the performers seem to relish the challenge of stringing together the weirdest suggestions and finding humor in them. Many times, as soon as an interesting idea manifests in a scene, Muchmore finds the perfect background tune on his keyboard, heightening the comedic effect. Whether a sketch satirizes horror films, depicts true love or makes up musicals, he’s got the music covered.

The cast’s chemistry is impressive. There isn‘t any sign of the inflated egos or neediness that can so easily bog down improv. In fact, if there’s one overall impression “The Show” leaves you with, it’s the performers’ professionalism. Sharply dressed, with the confidence to match, they emit an energy that puts the audience at ease. Transitions between sketches zip right along, and the show is never in danger of lulling or losing momentum.

The 5- to 10-minute sketches almost always leave you wanting more, and if there‘s one complaint to make about “The Show,” it’s the cruelly short running time of 45 minutes.

“The Show,” and improv itself, isn’t about star performers. On the night I saw it, each performer had at least a few memorable, hilarious moments. But some performers stand out, such as Melissa Heiman, who gives each character a unique and quirky physicality.

UNM student Patrick Gozur often achieves a subtle humor that might take a moment to sink in. Each of the actors has his or her own comedic talents, but they all combine wonderfully.

Performer Alex Knight’s talents are possibly the worst-kept secret in Albuquerque, and those familiar with him won’t be surprised to hear that he frequently shines. Whether it’s his unique renditions of characters and scenes, or simply the glee of his reactions as scenes escalate, he’s often the catalyst for “The Show’s” most unexpected laugh-out-loud moments.

“The Show”
Friday, Saturday, 9 p.m.
The Box Performance Space
100 Gold Ave S.W.
Suite 112 B 

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