Review: Needs Improvment



Improv captains and seniors Ceci Cipullo and Max Murphy kick off the exciting night by introducing the Needs Improvment members.

Sandeep Gingipalli, Staff Writer

From Irish pirates in 1647 to a group of people in heaven explaining how a banana peel led to their humorous deaths, the Needs Improvment show on May 11 made hilarious and witty dialogue out of bizarre scenarios. The event took place in the Robert-Dubbs Auditorium and left the audience laughing from the minute the performers took the stage.

The performance opened up with a sketch that involved two “scientists” (seniors Max Murphy and Nick Sturman) who were trying to use a pterodactyl to abduct children from a school bus during a field trip. As the pterodactyl descended upon the school children, a shocking twist occurred: A child on the bus yelled “Dad?” to one of the scientists. As the audience roared with laughter, the mad scientists tried to make up for attacking the children on the bus by offering to adopt all of them. Initially, I was a little confused as to where the performers were going with their idea, as the theme behind the scene was a wild one. However, despite my initial confusion, the performers worked together to create a seamless and entertaining scene.

Seniors Max Murphy and Nick Sturman create an evil plan that involves their pterodactyl (senior Sarah Groustra).

One of the acts that the audience engaged the most with was the Cloud Atlas scene. The actors were to put on a performance about four different time periods (coming from the audience), each with a different theme, and connect them all together. Ultimately, the time periods chosen by the audience were Ireland in the Fall of 1647 (pirate theme), Antebellum Georgia (horror theme), Johannesburg in 1989 (Shakespearean comedy theme) and Detroit in 2019 (murder mystery theme).

While I was curious as to how the performers would be able to pull off the daunting task of connecting four seemingly disconnected time periods together, they did so effortlessly. It all started off with some Irish pirates, trying to convince one to take latkes as treasure instead of gold. It amazed me how many unexpected turns this one scene took. After some spontaneous comedic lines, the scene quickly switched over to Antebellum Georgia where a southerner (senior Damini Gopal) learned that her father (senior Jacob Zachary-Flanders) had an affair right as the Civil War was about to start. Her acting was magnificent as she humorously made fun of her dad for his “small old womanly stature” and at the same time, tried to piece together her father’s affair right as she learned that her best friend was killed.

While the plot would seem dark if it was taken out of context, sitting in the audience I barely realized that I was witnessing a murder because of how funny the performers made every scene.

Senior Jacob Cohen tries to remember who he is supposed to be honoring in the improv game “Eulogy.”

The night ended with a farewell to the seniors of Needs Improvment, as this was the last official show of the school year. This last performance, which only included seniors, was called “Bucketworks.” One by one, each senior put their head in a large bucket of water. When they ran out of breath, one of the other performers on stage who was acting out a scene—in this case about 6 Flags—would take their place in the bucket. Once a performer took their head out of the bucket they would have to explain to the audience why they were wet. As performers frantically removed their heads from the bucket, water splashed all over the stage, making for a fun and memorable scene.

Needs Improvment ended the year strong with this performance. The performers delivered sharp witty lines, with the whole cast complementing each other at the perfect moments.