Like a four-headed farm animal, ImproVision was born in a barn in Elie, Manitoba.
Alan MacKenzie, Ed Cuddy, George McRobb and Audra Lesosky first joined forces in 1999 when Alan formed Full Frontal Improv — of funny folk he’d met in theatre classes at Prairie Theatre Exchange. The troupe made their debut in a straw bale amphitheatre beside a barn in the farming community of Elie (seriously). Full Frontal gained and lost members (like original member, Don Balcaen) and gained acclaim with two highly-successful runs in the 2000 and 2001 Winnipeg Fringe Festivals; earning five star reviews from the Winnipeg Free Press both years. But on July 29, 2001, Full Frontal Improv took its final bow.
Then a little over a month later, over large beers at the Toad in the Hole pub in Winnipeg, Alan, Ed, George and stage manager Audra decided they missed the spotlight. And besides, the fall TV schedule looked pretty boring. So ImproVision was born. The new name was an homage to Full Frontal’s final Fringe show, "Live in ImproVision" — a tribute to such B-movie sensations as Sensurround and Odor-Rama. These were just the sort of cheap thrills and weird experimentation the new troupe hoped to deliver.
On Sunday, October 14, 2001 ImproVision debuted at the If… Improv Festival at the Gas Station Theatre in Winnipeg. They were pleased to share the spotlight with their pals from the Acme Theatre Company. Since that first successful performance partnership, ImproVision has collaborated in shows with other troupes such as Twisted Nipple Improv and Evil Bob Live, and members of such legendary groups as The Speen Jockeys, Crumbs, Slade & McIntyre and many more.
All this hanging out with other performers (many stranger than themselves) taught ImproVision new forms, spurred new ideas, and developed their daring to the point where — in their 2002 Fringe solo show — they didn’t hesitate to plunge their heads into a bucket of water. That Jenny Award winning show, "ImproVision A’ Go-Go", earned rave reviews: the Winnipeg Free Press called it "an enthusiastic celebration… "; CBC Radio called the troupe "the kings of short form improv… ". In the 2003 Fringe, ImproVision's Happy Juicy Candy Hour with Extra Luck show netted three 4-star reviews and one 5-star review. The show had CBC reviewer Al Rae "brushing real tears of laughter from his jaded, soulless empty eyes."
In addition to being a Fringe Festival regular since 2002, ImproVision was awarded their own show in the 2004 CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival at the Gas Station theatre - a huge honour and a great experience.
Check out the News section of this site to see where we’re playing next. And don’t forget your protective eyewear.