The two improv teams in Oh Hell Yeah demonstrate that timing is everything | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The two improv teams in Oh Hell Yeah demonstrate that timing is everything 

In less time, Wet Bus covers more ground than Alterboyz.

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Rebecca Shrom

Timing is everything. Oh Hell Yeah, a new improv double bill consisting of the iO teams Alterboyz and Wet Bus, clearly demonstrates this truism. Alterboyz practices slow, patient improv while Wet Bus speeds through its set with quick wit, rapid physicality shifts, and bold scene initiations. Wet Bus masters the tempo while Alterboyz falls victim to it.

Alterboyz's scenes are full of pregnant pauses, which read as trepidation about the next line or where a scene is headed. There is much standing, talking, and thinking. On the night I attended, the three improvisers transported themselves to a small farm. They spoke about the weather until one woman revealed she was on the hunt for a murderer, and the trio eventually set off on a road trip to catch the killer. They never made it to their destination, though they did hike into tangents-all the while standing and talking, modifying their physicality only to sit. As the single scene dragged, so did the comic timing.

Wet Bus traveled faster, its tight cast pouncing on recurring jokes and characters with aplomb. In a scene taking place on a mountainside, two men carried each other until one lost an arm. The lobby of a doctor's office transformed into a gathering place for recurring characters, including the aforementioned armless men. When a cast member delivered a tossed-off line, the rest of the crew was quick to point it out. When one of the dudes mansplained what a period is, the females in the group immediately mocked his naivete and then later demanded he continue his misguided explanation.

In less time, Wet Bus covered more ground than Alterboyz. Many limbs were shed, but the murderer is still at large.   v

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