This weekend saw the Grand Opening of The Village Theatre at their new space in the Pencil Factory Lofts on Decatur Street.
If you’re reading this and remember The Village Theatre’s previous location at the Historic Shopping Center on Decatur Street, this new place is Proof that Village Theatre is all grown up. Gone are the couches, BYOB, and Scott Bakula’s cover of Playgirl magazine in the women’s restroom. Now we have tiered seating, a bar staffed by wonderful and friendly volunteers, and a women’s restroom that is Bakula-free. The Village Theatre has been entertaining Atlanta for a few years now, and seeing them in their new digs I feel like I’ve witnessed an evolution.
The move to a shiny new space didn’t affect prices: tickets are still only $10 on Friday and Saturday nights, and $5 on Thursday nights. Great entertainment for a great value. Even better: the bar has reasonable prices all around.
Opening night’s show began with the national anthem. When they announced that, I, and I suspect most of the audience, waited for a punch line; very few of us stood up until we realized that yup, the show was really opening with The Star Spangled Banner. Christy Lee Faircloth did the song quite well, and though I was surprised at this start, I was pleased. It was a great start to a fantastic night.
The night was MC’d by Mike King, and onstage for Friday’s show were Marc Mooney, Gil Rogers, Justin Hall, John McLouth, Emily Holden (performing while eight months pregnant!), and Blair Holden. Handling audio for the group was DJ Jesse Vogel. They started off with long-form improv, which had me laughing to the point of tears more than once. It seemed obvious to me that this group has worked with each other for some time now; they are comfortable with each other, play well off one another’s leads, and occasionally crack themselves up. It is an ensemble that is easy to laugh with, and at, as they toss around references to current events, Jackson Pollock and bodily functions with aplomb.
During the intermission, we watched a video tribute to a beloved Village Theatre prop, which also documented the group’s move from their old space to this new one. After the intermission, we were primed for a Friday night edition of their Improv A-Hole! show. I had no idea what to expect, but quickly found that combining short form improv with heavy audience involvement and copious amounts of cheap beer is genius, and hysterical.
Friday nights are normally their version of Family Feud, but I’m glad they changed it up for opening night; Improv A-Hole alone is worth the price of admission, and a show I’ll gladly come back to see again and again. Making performers drink by cheering for (or against) them would never get old.
I left the theatre having had a great time, and knowing that I’ll be back and bringing friends with me. I couldn’t have had more fun. The Village Theatre’s mantra is “PLF” (Party Like F*ck), and yeah, I think they live up to it.
Overheard in the lobby after the show: “For ten dollars, the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” If you leave this article remembering nothing else, remember this about The Village Theatre’s improv comedy.
About The Village Theatre
The Village Theatre has three regularly occurring shows:
· Danger! The Show on Thursday nights at 8:30. $5. This is a show for Atlanta’s improv “up-and-comers.”
· Comedy Live on Friday nights at 8:30. $10. The Village Theatre’s improvised version of The Family Feud.
· Improv A-Hole! on Saturday nights at 8:30. Improv theater + college drinking game = Improv A-Hole. At the end of each scene, the audience votes on their favorite and least favorite, and drinking rules are invoked.
Shows are cash-only at the door, but tickets can be purchased online with credit card until two hours before the show. The space is comfortable but not large, so it’d be best to get your tickets early!
Interested in learning improv comedy skills? The Village Theatre offers five levels of classes, plus electives, to build your skill set. To sign up for classes, see the below contact information.
The Village Theatre
349 Decatur St.
Atlanta, GA 30312