By Brandon Agalaba
There is no topic or joke off-limits when an improv group takes the stage — and the College’s own Mixed Signals know this well. The student improv group left their audience in stitches on Tuesday, March 24, in the Mayo Concert Hall, while opening for professional musical-improv group, Baby Wants Candy.
The Mixed Signals, comprised of a group of talented student performers, played five, energetic games to warm up the crowd. The members of the group had an audience member shout out a random word, which served as inspiration for the following scene. One audience member shouted the word “salami,” and what followed was a hilarious game in which two of the members discussed the difference between bologna and salami while making world-famous sandwiches.
The games also involved a character named “Peanut,” despised by his family, and a series of short jokes about diabetes. All throughout, the Mixed Signals played various characters with gusto and enthusiasm, and the games were funny and engaging.
“My favorite part of the show was either the ‘Peanut’ part or the ‘Diabetes’ part,” freshman finance major Ziyi Wang said.
When the members of Baby Wants Candy perform, they create completely improvised musicals, and they are backed by a pianist that plays fitting music to their actions. However, the group started their show in an unorthodox way — by interviewing a student, senior community and career studies major Matthew Ianacone. Various facts were revealed about him over the course of the interview, such as his participation in scavenger hunts and his plans for the future. After the interview, the group did a skit that detailed various adventures from a man being late to a race to going on rides in Disneyland.
Next, they encouraged audience members to give them ideas for a musical to do. Shows from the past included “You’re a Good Man, Justin Bieber” and “Build Me a 200 Ft. Sigourney Weaver,” while the title they chose for the night was “Grand Budapest Motel 6.”
In “Grand Budapest Motel 6,” the story followed the adventures of a talkative but endearingly goofy motel worker named Shelley and two teenagers as they tried to solve a mystery that involves missing friends and ghosts. Other characters introduced were an uncle and his niece who worked at the motel. Scenes from the musical included Shelley’s actions on her first day as a motel worker and the uncle revealing his evil nature. The musical ended with the uncle being defeated, and Shelley, the teens and the niece owning the motel.
Baby Wants Candy’s show was zany, wild and full of energy. Even though the musical was improvised, it was just as professional and entertaining as a scripted musical. The actors’ performances were fantastic and full of gusto. There was a lot of humor in the show, and the songs accentuated the lively experience. In particular, a memorable song called “Mohell” was significant for the musical, as the uncle sang about wanting to marry his niece and trying to keep guests inside the motel forever. “Mohell” was sung in a hilarious but simultaneously unsettling way, and it was a highlight of the musical.
“It was my first time coming to TCNJ,” said Jen Connor, a member of Baby Wants Candy. “But it is really fun to do college shows.”
The Mixed Signals and Baby Wants Candy contributed to a fun night that was full of jokes, memorable moments and fun for the College community.