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Posted on: December 16, 2016

Local Improv Troupe Offers Family-Friendly Laughs

ANOKA, Minn. -- An improv comedy troupe from Coon Rapids is used to performing for a 21-and-older crowd, but a new audience is challenging them to be both funny and family-friendly.

‘Fantastic Voyage’ troupe member Travis Klinkner said he and others didn't expect to be performing together in front of audiences one day when they took a class about five years ago. Now they don't know what to expect on stage.

“I went to some of the classes, mostly for work. I thought. ‘Hey, this will help me speak better on my feet, things like that. I didn't know I'd enjoy it. I love it. So I continued taking classes and then three of us were actually in some of the same classes, we formed a troupe,” Klinkner said.

They formed Fantastic Voyage, which started performing at a Coon Rapids restaurant called 'Yes and Foods.' When they closed, an opportunity opened up at MaGillycuddy's in Anoka.

“There's a quote ... 'Just jump out of the airplane. You'll figure out how to land on the way down.’ And that's kind of what we do,” member Blake Wanger said.

“We always call Wednesday nights our 'stage therapy night,' where we get to get all that creativity that's been building up, out on stage. And it really helps because we have no idea where that creative idea is going to come from. Because it's all audience, based on the suggestions they give us,” member Jessi Goins said.

Its seven members are used to playing games and taking suggestions from an adult audience, where just about anything goes.
“It's a great way to escape,” longtime fan Bruce Rehberg said. “Every night, you can go in, have the exact same questions, same players and have completely different shows.”

But some of their fans didn't have a chance to play along.

“A lot of our kids were like, ‘Hey, we haven't seen you do improv in a long time.” So we actually met with the (MaGillycuddy’s) owners and they were nice enough to say yeah.

They now have family friendly shows every other month to kid around with young jokesters.

“(Kids) have their own kind of logic and they make mental connections that an adult audience just won't make. And they always surprise you,” Wanger said. “It brings out the best in us in some ways.”

“It's just a way for me to kind of step aside and kind of forget about things for a little bit and have some time for myself and my friends and have fun,” Klinkner said.

“We do this to share our love with the community,” Wanger said.

Fantastic Voyage has shows every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at MaGillycuddy's in Anoka and family friendly shows are the second Wednesday of every even month. There's no cover charge, just a five dollar suggested donation to cover equipment costs.

Wanger said they welcome anyone who wants to give it a try, to hop on stage.

(Copyright 2016 by CTN Coon Rapids.  All Rights Reserved.)

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