Uncle Janes: Crystal Queer Comedy is a brand-new improv show co-produced by Jill Lockley with Blind Tiger Comedy, featuring a fully queer-identifying ensemble of improvisers, including Jordan Wesley, Michael Sousa, Bradley Bergeron, Chris Reed, Cassidy Anhorn, Charlie Cook, Koby Braidek, Briana Rayner, Chloe Willes-Speakman and Jill Lockley, with guest monologist Continental Breakfast. Tucked behind a convenience store, the small and cozy Little Mountain Gallery felt like a fun secret.
In this constantly under construction, bunker-like room, the ensemble began the first half of show with some fun improv games, like innuendo, a game in which they compared their ideal partner to an object. Immediately, the game was more polite than I’ve seen it done prior, with “I like my partner” being the most common way to start. Some spectacular lines come from this, like “I like my men like I like my coffee, I don’t” or “I like my women like I like the moon, going through a phase.”
Next, they played a scene where the performers had to end it by saying the most heartfelt “I love you” that they could. At my suggestion, the scene took place in my dad’s basement, where two men slowly unravelled and expressed their love for each other, which had grown during the decades they spent lounging and writing bad novellas. Refreshingly, the scene never played the idea of two men falling love as the joke, instead making their weird backstory the centre piece.
They finished up the first act with a classic game of freeze, tapping each other in and out of scenes. They played through multiple wild locations, from a liberal arts prison to Jill’s womb, with a recurring theme of having arms that are just made for fishing.
The second half was a long-form set, with scenes being inspired from stories from guest monologist Continental Breakfast, who stole this half of the show wearing a full gold-sequined gown that they had made themselves. They divulged multiple stories from their lives from high school to last weekend, messy details included. They monologued about a high school trip in Austria where they got roofied then made out with their physics teacher, then about their employee / long-term hookup that they discovered was homeless, and finally about their sexcapade in a Reno airport bathroom, 12 minutes before their flight left. The improvisers did well making scenes with the stories given, although I don’t envy the effort they had to make to avoid acting out the raunchier details of the stories (which were most details).
Overall, the whole show was fun, funny, and joyful. The relationship between the audience and performers felt close — the audience wanted to see them succeed, and succeed they did. The laughter that filled the room was enthusiastic and well-earned. Clearly it was a successful premier show, as it will be a recurring show at Little Mountain Gallery. If you come to the next show, you’ll definitely be seeing me there.