Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Lorna Landvik's "Party in the Rec Room" at Bryant-Lake Bowl

It's the new year, and that means it's time for another Party in the Rec Room at Bryant-Lake Bowl! Local "author/entertainer/antic dealer" Lorna Landvik returns with her annual improv performance/party. I've not read her books or seen her show before but I've heard good things. Plus I love dinner and a 7pm 90-minute show at Bryant-Lake Bowl (doors open at 6, with dinner and drink service before and during the show). It was obvious last Saturday night that much of the audience were fans and returnees, and came ready to have fun! Lorna entertained with improvised scenes and songs using her particular brand of Minnesota humor, and her comfort on stage and genuine rapport with the audience made for a fun evening.

The show begins with margaritas blended on stage and distributed to the audience, as promised. Lorna then introduces the show and explains how the evening works - she'll ask the audience a few questions, then create a character and scene based off of those prompts. Once she has answers to questions like "what's your favorite band?" or "name a place you'd like to visit this year," she disappears behind the curtain. Music plays as she rummages around in what must be a very large array of props and wigs backstage, and she reappears each time as a new character of varying age, gender, and quirks. Sometimes she remembers all the prompts, sometimes she doesn't, but the audience is there to help her out, and either way it's silly fun.

While the audience is encouraged to interact, and even help out with a few things, it's on a strictly volunteer basis. I'm terrified of audience participation and I felt totally comfortable and non-threatened, even sitting a few rows from stage. But those who enjoy that sort of thing also had a good time being part of the show.

Party in the Rec Room really does feel like a party hosted by a very funny and amiable friend. A party that continues every Friday and Saturday at BLB through the end of January.