“Can we see it again? Can we see it tomorrow?”

Opening night of Impulse was an uproarious romp of improv comedy performed by a professional troupe of clever, quick-thinking, preternaturally imaginative high schoolers. My 6-year-old and I shared face-creasing smiles from the jump to the very end, and when the host reminded us afterwards that every show was different, so come again, my son immediately demanded that we do. Tomorrow!

The talent of the performers was infectiously joyful, and the delighted crowd ate it all up. The troupe worked seamlessly through each spontaneous bit, showcasing their comedic teamwork and mastery of hilarious transitions. Their wittiness belies their youth, and each comic displayed their own unique style of eliciting giggles. At all times, they kept the audience engaged and the humor family-friendly.

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During the “Typewriter” scene, where one performer orated a novel while two others acted it out, my son turned to me and commented gratefully, “I love this.” After the “Half Life” game, where two performers executed the same improvised scene repeatedly in decreasingly less time, he noted, “100% awesome.”

The Young Professionals Company is composed of some of the brightest teenage comedians in and around Portland. The term professional is apt: not only are they paid for their talents, but they display impressive stage presence and dedication to their craft. They rehearse three times per week. They’ve been battling adult comics for the past two years as the only teens invited to the prestigious Stumptown Improv Festival. And they don’t merely contend with the surprise of audience suggestions, but even the themes they must perform are randomly chosen by the director each night. They are precociously funny, and are clearly having as much fun getting the laughs as the crowd is having them. The troupe, and the show, are buoyed by continuity: the director for the past two seasons is a former member. And two of the performers, who started out at Oregon Children’s Theatre as 6-year-old campers, have realized their dreams of being in the show. My son, already a camper there, now has those same dreams.

When doors opened 10 minutes prior to the show’s start, a packed lobby streamed in to fill the seats. With a number of dates already sold out, get your tickets now and plan to get there early to find a good spot (though the intimate venue has no bad views). The show is recommended for children 7+, but younger kids with a developed sense of humor will appreciate the physical comedy and feeling of merriment, even if they don’t get all the jokes. It is a 70-minute runtime with no intermission, but it goes by quick. Nearly as quick as the wit.

Impulse XIII

January 17–February 2, 2020

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Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm

Sundays at 2 pm

Saturday, 1/25 at 9:30 pm

Thursday, 1/30 at 7:30 pm

Location: YP Studio Theater, 1939 NE Sandy Blvd.

Runtime: 70 minutes

Recommended for ages 7 and up

Jake Weiss
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