The Geek Authority • May 21, 2016
Slow...Children At Play " Side-Splitting Improvisation Doesn't Get Any Better Than This With "Slow…Children At Play"!
by Lorenzo Marchessi
18 years ago – founder, writer, producer, director and performer Tim Simek formed an amazing group made up of people who just thrive on making people laugh. How do they do it? Improv ! Taking wild and crazy circumstances from completely obscure or unrelated topics and mashing them up together with no script, no-cue cards and nothing but their often bizarrely hysterical imaginations and creating one-of-kind scenes, skits and routines – you'll never see again! "Slow…Children At Play" is not only perfectly named but it brings the talents of a very creatively energetic group of performers whose only job is - literally - to make you laugh – a lot! (And they do! Boy do they!)
When the award-winning troupe gets together at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre in North Hollywood every 3rd Saturday of the month, they bring together an audience and get them excited and so energized that the suggestions offered by the audience make for some of the most wonderful improvisational scenes, skits and more you'll ever see live on stage. Some months are themed with the appropriate Holiday flourish or flare, but I guarantee you every time you see them – every show will be very different – very unique - and always very very funny!
Webster's defines IMPROV as such; Improv : of, relating to, or being improvisation and especially an improvised comedy routine Improvisation : 1: the act or art of improvising – 2: something (as a musical or dramatic composition) improvised Improvise: 1: to speak or perform without preparation – 2: to make or create (something) by using whatever is available
With that said, the entire company is amazingly talented and includes the performers; Laura Buckles, Rosanne Limeres, Jackie Moses, Ernie Ventry, Wade MacDonald, Kurt Runyon, Melanie Prescott, Gina Terranova and of course Tim Simek.
I've got to highlight three of the performers as outstanding in the area of quick thinking, quick characterization and impeccable timing. First is Laura Buckles – who does an amazing job of instantly creating characters with very distinct traits, attributes and vocal cadences all while cleverly thinking up very funny dialogue and appropriate actions and making it all extremely smart, original and very very very (and did I mention very) funny. Second is Rosanne Limeres and along with her very impressive singing talents, she too does an incredible job of spontaneously responding and reacting to anything and everything that is thrown at her – all with perfect comic timing and sarcastic wit and charm that you'll love everything she does. Lastly, Jackie Moses has an original spicy kick to her deliveries. A small package of a lady, but a huge punch of comic timing with a fresh fun and always sharp wit - her timing and incredible character looks will just have you in stitches.
Now throw in the mix the elements of adding Improv games like 'Scenes From A Bowl', 'A Day In The Life', 'Four Locations' 'Three things' and 'Transforming Musical' (and many many
more) – and along with suggestions from the audience you can have an evening of bizarrely hysterically funny and weird set-ups, scenes and skits that will have you in tears of laughter!
My two personal favorite games include; 'Emotional Elevator' (this evening performed by Laura, Kurt, Ernie and Melanie) where four performers have four very distinct personality traits that they all 'inherit' each others as the elevator travels from floor to floor. 'Well Actually' (this performance was done by Wade, Rosie and Ernie) – which is a game whereby the performers are given a verbal cues as to when they have to spontaneously change their last phrase/response into something new, usually several at a time in rapid succession, and they always end up be so drastically way out there that you'll literally be laughing for days.
Also included are the regular segment of 'Tovarish Talk' which is personified with the most hysterically thick-accented Russian performances of Tim Simek as Boris and Kurt Runyon as Vlad (complete with Vodka shots) – with a few clever and very funny 'callers' thrown in the mix – which will again have you on the edge of you seat with laughter as they answer callers bizarre questions.
The entire troupe is accompanied by the musical stylings of Jeff Palmer and its his music that adds another element of comedy you would never expect – especially during the Silent movie improv skit! Along with Lisa Klink providing technical effects and lighting for the entire evening, Tim Simek has an amazing group of talented actors that will provide hours of comedy –new fresh and never before seen – every time you go!
OMG – Absolutely funny, occasionally hysterical, (sometimes adult in subject), and often laugh out loud memorable – the comedy improv company of "Slow…Children At Play" is a wonderfully unique improvisational experience that you must see in North Hollywood at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre! All original, nothing scripted and a lot of the topics and outrageous happenings are from ideas that come from you - the audience – who provide them. Just be prepared to go home with sore sides, stiff facial muscles and a LOT of funny memories you'll be imitating and passing along to all your friends! It's truly just brilliantly hysterical improvisational comedy - live! Check them out at SlowChildrenImprov dot com and tell them Lorenzo sent you from FaceBook dot com/TheGeekAuthority !
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Top L. - Jackie Moses, Rosanne Limeres, Kurt Runyon – Top R. - Tim Simek, Laura Buckles, Rosanne Limeres – Bot. L. - 'Tovarish Talk' w/Tim Simek, Kurt Runyon – Main Pic Center – Included: Laura Buckles, Rosanne Limeres, Jackie Moses, Ernie Ventry, Wade MacDonald, Kurt Runyon, Melanie Prescott, Gina Terranova and Tim Simek
The Geek Authority • May 23, 2015
"Slow…Children At Play" Is Comedy Gold With Improvisation As Fun As It's Gonna Get!
by Lorenzo Marchessi
If you need a dose of Improvisation – or you have always wanted to see it live and watch how comic creativity flows with talented people, than "Slow…Children At Play" is the improvisational theatre company you have got to see. Performing once a month at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre in North Hollywood, this group is a refreshing experience of nothing but laughter and creativity that anything and everything is possible – but it always will make you laugh!
"Slow...Children at Play" was founded by actor, company member and director Tim Simek in early 1998. So their group has evolved, changed and grown with experience and talent that has only one purpose – to make you laugh. And do they ever. This particular group of performers have so much talent bursting onto the stage – that you as the audience can't be helped but be hit by the waves and waves of humor that will be thrown at you.
Here are just a few of the adjectives I would use for this amazing group of just plain funny people;
Tim Simek (founder/director/producer) – heads this whole group! Wow – he's got a very talented group of performers – including himself as the funny and creative leader!
Laura Buckles – insightful – original – sharp – quick - funny!
Rosanne Limeres – quick – smart – witty - funny - wow and can she sing!
Shannan Leigh – brilliant – quick – adaptable – sharp - funny!
Jackie Moses – spontaneous – energetic – sharp – quick thinker - funny!
Kurt Runyon – thoughtful – clever – real – sharp - funny!
Wade MacDonald – witty – motivated – surprising – sharp - funny!
n the wonderful tradition of 'The Carol Burnett Show' you will see comedy skits that will simply surprise you. You'll laugh out loud at lines you didn't see coming and situations you could never imagine. Skits like 'Day In Your Life' where they take an audience member's day and reenact it –their way! Another called 'Three Things' where the audience chooses the subject and amazingly performs sometimes the most hysterical action – i.e. a couple locked in a phone booth while giving birth and the husband asking in the last line – "….we have cell phones and we're lock in a phone booth – why aren't we calling anybody?…". Too much fun!
"Slow, Children at Play" is improvisation with a wonderfully sharp, smart and very funny ensemble of performers who sing, do cleverly spontaneous characters and create the scenes from your suggestions and make them – real – or - really – really – really –did I mention – really funny! Be prepared to have your sides hurting when it's over!
Check them out at www.SlowChildrenImprov.com and tell them Lorenzo Marchessi of The Geek Authority sent you!
©2015 TheGeek Authority.com & ©2015 LandMProductions.com
NoHo Arts District • March 25, 2015
by Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
I love a great improv show and there are many, many improv shows in LA, and even quite a few in NoHo, many of which I have seen. But Slow…Children At Play is a real stand out. Their director, who is also one of the actors, Tim Simek, started the comedy troupe in LA in back in1998. That this wonderful and creative group of actors are still performing intelligent, improvised comedy is clearly a testament to their generosity of spirit and their commitment to mind expanding improvisation.
Running at two hours, the show is set up as a series of vignettes and games, with some input from the audience in the form of lines of dialogue on pieces of paper, or objects from our pockets or handbags. The cast would then use these objects to create jokes and the lines of dialogue were used in another sketch to spontaneously enhance the storyline. All good improvising techniques, and very, very entertaining to be sure, it's also one of the few improv groups I have seen with music and effects which really pulled the whole thing together.
This is a cast of equals. So well known to each other it appears that there seems to be an almost supernatural connection, a 7th sense, if you will. This connection, surely brought about by the endless hours they must have spent together rehearsing as well as performing, ensures that we the audience are treated time and time again to fantastic and instinctual improvised sketch comedy. I would also like to add how wonderful it is to see so many talented women on the stage performing improv….spectacular!
Some stand outs for me where the Russian Radio show, who's hosts answer inane questions from callers - hilarious, and the Facebook game, where each cast member has the chance to comment, Facebook style, on things that we, the audience, see on Facebook every day that upset or annoy us….very funny and very true.
I actually thought it might be difficult to write a review of a comedy improve show, however, and boy am I happy to have this happen, the comedy and the improv was so spectacular that for me a review has never been easier to write.
Slow - Children at Play perform once a month at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre in NoHo, and I cannot recommend them any more highly. Truly, each and every one of the cast is brilliant in their own unique way, which is the strength of an excellent group I believe. Mr Simek has done us all a favor in creating and maintaining 'Slow - Children at play'…really, it is a wonderful show.
- ‘Slow…Children at Play’
Speeding at Andrew Benne Studio
- By Justin
Slow…Children at Play, an improvisational comedy troupe, was founded
in late 1997 by actor and director Tim Simek because he wanted a more
consistent creative outlet than auditions could provide. The group’s
moniker represents Simek’s philosophy that we are all just “kids”
who want to “go out and play!
The group, similar in structure to The Groundlings, is layered into
two troupes. The second-tier group (“The Deuce”) is comprised
of beginning improv actors who, with time and experience, eventually
graduate to the next level (“The Core”). Some standouts
from The Deuce include D’Jef Baker, Wayne Berg and Heidi Popp
while The Core boasts strong performances from Davis Choh, Kelly Boczek,
Jason Gareffa and co-director of The Deuce, Ian Flanders, among others.
Anyone who’s seen the popular show Who’s Line is it Anyway?
knows the routine of improv games. While Slow…Children at Play
mines some of this familiar territory, most of the games are fresh and
some, as far as I could tell, completely homemade, including a comical
rendition of “Sitcoms You’ve Never Seen.” The group
also cleverly utilizes multimedia to present a hilarious “mockumentary”
during the performance.
Improv is inherently an extremely difficult thing to pull off, probably
more so than stand-up comedy, because of the lack of prepared material.
The performers are literally “winging it” all the way through
the show. But Slow…Children at Play performs with grace and style,
and occasionally provides the chuckles, too. And because it is generally
unfavorable to swear or use ‘blue’ material in the improv
world, the performances are extremely family friendly.
In addition to regular performances at The Andrew Benne Studio in North
Hollywood, the group also performs at private parties, corporate functions
and other various venues.
Catch Slow…Children at Play at The Andrew Benne Studio, 4930 Lankershim
Blvd. in North Hollywood. Contact (818) 410-PLAY for performance information
and be sure to visit their comprehensive website,
Faith Dickenson of
The Tolucan Times had to say:
If you're familiar with Whose
Line Is It Anyway? or any other comedy improv groups,
you'll know what to expect from Slow…Children at
Play. The audience participates quite a bit, so
if you come to their performance. Come prepared to have
a lot of fun and be part of the show.
The Slow…Children at Play
cast quickly moved through one improv exercise after
another, beginning with "Object of the Joke" where the
host, Tim Simek, gathers objects from the audience and
has the cast give their interpretation of what else
they could be used for. Their responses were clever
and, at times, a little racy.
"Well, Actually" has Tim Simek
taking suggestions from the audience for different circumstances
to throw at the characters. Every time Tim rings a bell,
the cast has to do a complete reverse of their previous
sentence, making up stories as they go along. One of
the audience favorites was "Movie Makeover," which had
ET, portrayed by Gretchen Massey, doing all sorts of
Some of the activities actually
kept you on the edge of your seat because the audience
was privy to information that was kept from the cast
members. Most notable was "Three Things," where Matt
Daniger had to guess the activities that were suggested
by the audience. The other cast members had to mime
and speak in gibberish to convey the activity to Matt.
The cast worked well together
and the show moved along quickly through the various
exercises. It was both amusing and entertaining. Directed
by actor and founder Tim Simek, the talented cast also
includes Melissa Graves, Tammie Calhoun, Chris Cause,
Davis Choh, Chas Mitchell, Susanne Stoeckeler and Steve
The Creative Center in North
Hollywood is a little like an old book store, where
one halfway expects to see a creaky old person blowing
dust off a book and inviting you to enter the back room
for some truly special editions. Instead we met Barbara,
who is as far removed from a creaky old person as you
can get! This lovely greeter does show you to the back
room, and that's when you seem to feel like you're in
and old Garland-Rooney film where they said "Let's have
a play." They throw together a few chairs, move some
couches near the front, run to the hardware store to
buy some reflectors and floodlights, stick them up on
poles and then go for it.
We felt like we were in somebody's
living room doing charades - big time! Tim Simek has
brought together a bunch of crazies who will improvise
anything at the drop of a hat, and keep you laughing
till your sides split in the process. Our favorite bit
was the opening spoof on Britney Spears, "Oops I did
it again!" Propriety and good taste prevent us from
mentioning the flatulent gist of the parody, but suffice
it to say that Tim sprayed the stage with room deodorizer
at the end of the number.
With the audience suggesting
most improv situations, themes ranged from having sex
in a kitty litter box to re-enacting the Survivor show
in Sweden. There was the "Dating Game" spoof, the Acronym
bit and a really funny human symphony where Tim "conducted"
the cast in a mock concert. They spoke words that were
audience inspired in rhythmic crescendos and well timed
choral voicing. Needless to say, the whole thing was
completely off the wall, but they pulled it off with
a straight face.
Something like the Groundlings
and a little like Whose Line is It Anyway, this troupe
is developing its own unique identity, and they are
eclectic enough to take on any situation, especially
in a place like Los Angeles. Alphabetically, the cast
includes Tammie Calhoun from Texas, Christopher Cause
from Massachusetts, Davis Choh from Fullerton, Matt
Daniger from Los Angeles, Melissa Graves from far-away
lands (yeah - right!), Gretchen Massey, also from Texas,
Chas Mitchell, a New Yorker, Susanne Stoeckeler from
the Catskills, Steve Wallace from Texas and founder
Tim Simek - Texas too? Guess the folks in Texas don't
cotton much to goofy folk so Tim and his cohorts had
to escape to California.
Now that they're here, you can
find out more about the show by contacting director
Tim Simek at (818) 410-PLAY.
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