Neil Casey and Anthony Atamanuik may be two of the fastest screenplay writers in the business, even though their nightly creations are never actually filmed.
Their show, Two Man Movie, begins with Casey and Atamnuik walking on stage wearing suits; nothing too fancy — they look professional. After welcoming the audience, they explain they will be performing a fully improvised movie that they have never discussed or even thought about. Then they ask the audience for a suggestion — in this case they asked for lyrics to a person’s least favorite song. The girl next to me quickly shot her hand up and yelled, “Call Me Maybe,” and then the movie begins.
Hailing from New York City, these two improvisers have created a format with lots of flexibility. Watching these two construct a movie together, stacking their ideas on top of each other like children’s blocks, is pretty exhilarating, because you know at any moment their tower could collapse like a Jenga game.
When you come to see Two Man Movie, you’re not just watching two guys perform a movie; you’re seeing two men create identifiable characters on the spot, describe and narrate the scenery, while also adding film-like effects to their improv. In essence, what you’re seeing is them direct, produce, and perform in a live movie. Because of the performer’s casual attitude throughout, some of the funniest moments of the evening came when one of the performer’s couldn’t stop laughing from something his partner said.
Theatre 99 has hosted the pair before, and the intimacy of the room is perfect for their performance. Occasionally, the show would get mired down in the plot and character development, but Casey and Atamanuik’s know how to drop an expertly timed punchline to bring the audience back. Even during those slow moments, the audience was still fully invested in what would happen next.
But the real charm of the show comes from the visible fun Casey and Atamanuik are having together. They look like two guys with an undying enthusiasm for comedy and film, which makes for a nightly masterpiece worth seeing.