The first thing I want you to understand about Mouth Noises, a musical improv troupe, is that these motherlovers can sing. Even their little warmup where they riffed a little ditty about their day was done with such energy and vocal skill that is was equal to a champion gospel.
The second thing I want you to understand about Mouth Noises, who count Scriven Bernard, Meredith McAllister, Carlos Ayala, Katy Evans, Anna Gould, Colten Winburn, Jordan Justice, Mimi van Amerongen and Chris Cuan among their number, is they don’t really have a set format. Yet. They might, some day. Or they might twist it up a little each show.
Oh, there’ll be singing, believe that. There will also be instrumental accompaniment (probably a keyboard, but it might be a guitar or something else to keep you on your toes).
But by Scriven’s count, “We've experimented with formats a lot. This is our 73rd.”
It works regardless of whether they go verse/verse/chorus/bridge/verse/chorus or verse/chorus/verse/chor…I couldn’t keep up with all the song patterns they tried out.
It doesn’t matter though, because it was so much fun to watch them practice, such a joy, that it makes you wonder why there’s not more troupes trying their hand at a musical format.
Apparently, it’s even more of a revelation at shows. The reaction their coach, Allie Trimboli, has seen from audience members there to primarily see other troupes has been “’What is happening? - I GET IT! It's a musical!’ and their face lit up.”
“These guys are so freaking talented, and they combine my two big interests of musicals and improv.”
As fun as it is, singin’ improv also presents its own set of advanced competencies to master. “You have to rationalize inconsistencies in improv, but when you have to also work it into a chorus, it's a unique challenge,” says Carlos.
“You have to listen very carefully, especially when your troupe mate is singing a chorus, because you have to repeat what they sang, and how they sang it, regardless of your character's point of view,” adds Mimi.
With all this higher-degree-of-difficulty stuff, it’s no surprise that their listening skills are “on another level” per Carlos, and that they have chemistry to spare. It just wouldn’t work otherwise.
Jordan says they were singing together at their very first practice, and another thing that is on another level is their inside-joke love that’s the linchpin of their chemistry.
That’s probably what Mimi would say, at least. “When we pass by each other at DCH, we inevitably start singing our goofy, memorable choruses, even ones from our first few practices.”
The last thing I want you to understand about Mouth Noises is that you can see them at DCH’s Playground show at 10:30 Wednesday, February 7th.
Kevin Beane graduated from the DCH improv program in 2016 and is in the DCH troupe Preschool Fight Club. He also cohosts Quizprov, with occasional DCH shows, and performs in the Dallas-area troupe Autocomplete. He likes sports, eating, sleeping, board games, poker, euchre, and procrastinating. He hails from Akron, Ohio. You can also read him in TheatherJones.com, where he is the DFW comedy beat writer.