breaking news

FINAL: Texas Tech 27, Texas 23

Improv show 'What’s the Story, Steve?' lets dog and kids tell the tale

Thanks to multiple podcasts, television shows, and hard-working local theaters, improv comedy has become more popular than ever in recent years.

But what place is there, in the world of off-the-cuff comedy, for children? Or, more importantly, for dogs?

The answer can be found in “What’s the Story, Steve?,” a family-friendly improv show that is a collaboration between Move Your Tale (a group that offers classes, camps and shows for “families and youth with an interest in storytelling, improvisation, and performance”) and ColdTowne Theater, where it plays every Saturday morning.

The star of the show, Steve Scott, is an adorable poodle whose inner monologue is shared via backstage microphone in a free-flowing hour of improv emceed by Steve’s human, Kristin Henn.

The scene-stealers here are the kids in the audience who play an active and vital role in helping the improvisers (a talented and hilarious troupe, including seasoned performers Adam Oestrich, Drew Wesely, Becca Wilson, Conor Sullivan, and Bonnie Oh) create freewheeling comedic skits based on their suggestions and involvement.

This proves to be delightful for both the adults and the children in the audience. The former can appreciate the sly jokes and meta-commentary inserted by the performers (nothing inappropriate, but still over the heads of the young ones), while the kids enjoy the pure surrealist delight of adults acting according to their instructions. If there’s anything kids love more than grown-ups acting silly, it’s grown-ups acting silly in a way that they’re told to by children. Add in a talking dog, and what’s there for a kid not to love?

Every performance of “What’s the Story, Steve?” is obviously different from the last, but Henn starts each show by explaining to the audience what improv is and letting them in on the joke that we’ll get to hear what Steve is thinking. She also tells the kids that they’ll have a chance to participate in the show, and to be kind and gentle to Steve when they do.

Some of the kids who volunteer end up being quite shy, while others love to ham it up, and Henn and the cast are experts at dealing with both personality types. They also are phenomenally talented at picking up on the kids’ cues without question, and especially without talking down to them, so that every contribution is valued and honored.

The show ends with a giant dance party featuring the cast and the kids, so that even the shyest of children can take part in the fun if they want to.

By engaging in the time-honored tradition of taking kids seriously, while still recognizing their own senses of humor, the cast of “What’s the Story, Steve?” creates an endearing show that is sure to amuse parents/guardians and kids alike.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Lifestyle

Recipe of the Week: A cozy pot pie to use up holiday leftovers
Recipe of the Week: A cozy pot pie to use up holiday leftovers

You might have already had your fill of poultry this week, but if you’re looking for a recipe to use up the last of that Thanksgiving turkey and ham, here’s an excellent option from Punch Bowl Social, the restaurant-karaoke-arcade hybrid located in the Domain. The recipe calls for making a thick cream to mix with cooked chicken —...
Dear Abby - Sunday, November 26

Dear Abby: I have hearing loss. My insurance isn’t very good, and the monthly payments for hearing aids are the equivalent of a car payment, so I try my best and do without. People who know about my hearing loss will talk louder for me or let me know when they need my attention. Even strangers will repeat themselves or talk louder if I say I&rsquo...
Today’s birthdays - Sunday, November 26
Today’s birthdays - Sunday, November 26

Today’s Birthdays: Impressionist Rich Little is 79. Singer Tina Turner is 78. Singer Jean Terrell is 73. Pop musician John McVie is 72. Actress Marianne Muellerleile is 69. Actor Scott Jacoby is 61. Actress Jamie Rose is 58. Country singer Linda Davis is 55. Actor Scott Adsit is 52. Blues singer-musician Bernard Allison is 52. Country singer-musician...
Holiday family fun all week long in Austin, Nov. 26-Dec. 2
Holiday family fun all week long in Austin, Nov. 26-Dec. 2

Holiday Zilker Tree Lighting. Live music and your first chance to take a spin under the tree this year. 6 p.m. Sunday. Zilker Park. Driskill Hotel Tree Lighting. See the grand tree turn on in the lobby. 6 p.m. Tuesday. Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St. Elgin Christmas Tree Farm. Ride a hay ride to the...
Today’s horoscopes - Sunday, November 26

ARIES (March 21-April 19). You’re not always a social butterfly, but you’ll certainly make the rounds today and benefit greatly from the effort. Before the sun goes down, you’ll have touched base with a good number of people. TAURUS (April 20-May 20). You’re happiest when you’re helping people. Positive words, encouraging...
More Stories