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Hilary Parker | 12/17/2018 | Insider Blogs, Live Performances |   

Upfront Theatre Improv Comedy: Laughs for All Ages

Theatre owner Ryan Stiles (right) makes an occasional onstage appearance, but it's often a surprise. Will he show when you're there?

Here’s a riddle: How do you get teen and pre-teen siblings to agree on something?

Great question! Who knows?

Actually, I have found a solution: A night at the Upfront Theatre.

The Upfront Theatre is Bellingham’s home-grown improv comedy club, owned by an honest-to-goodness funny guy, Ryan Stiles. The Upfront has been entertaining ‘Hamsters since 2004.

As my children have become older, finding things to do as a family is both easier – it doesn’t have to revolve around nap time – and trickier as diverging interests and general teen-age angst comes into play. (Honestly, my kids are not bad at all, but I’m sure adults who have parented through this age range can relate.)

So when I came up with the idea for a night at the Upfront, I was feeling pretty good about myself. We’d been to a BIFT (Beer, Improv, Food Truck) night at Boundary Bay last summer, so the kids had been exposed to an improv/theatresports kind of performance, but this would be little bit different: the Upfront typically presents long-form performances rather than short skits.

Upon sharing my brilliant idea with a friend, I was confronted with: “But isn’t that the Upfront a little adult for your kids?”

Fortunately, I had the answer. I knew that the earlier, 7:30 p.m., show at the Upfront is geared more toward families, and generally, the performers aim to keep their humor fun for all and at a PG or PG-13 level.

As if to prove my point, we walked into the club to see three tables of middle-school aged boys attending the show for a birthday party. A few minutes later, a mom and her two pre-teen/early teen boys sat down behind us. Next to the birthday party sat two women who looked to be in their 70s. College students and middle-aged folks rounded out the audience. The Upfront Theatre really does offer laughs for all ages.

Munching on popcorn and sipping on sodas (there’s a full snack bar, including beer and wine for the 21+ crowd), my kids were already wearing big grins. The show hadn’t even started yet.

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