135 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA | Directions 9003634.074695 -118.344240
Neighborhoods: Central LA, Greater Wilshire / Hancock Park
The Liquid Radio Players and other improv – The Liquid Radio Players, an improvised 1940's radio show, is the best improv in LA. They have been doing the show at ACME for the last 10 years and the production keeps getting better. You really feel like your back in the 40's with the costumes, sound fx guy, music, and they way the casts speaks the lingo. A very polished show with great audience participation. LRP has the audience pick the genre, character names, commercial products and other bits of info then the troupe puts on a totally improvised show based on those suggestions for about 45 minutes. They never fail, always entertaining. Go check them out. They are running shows on Fridays at 8 pm right now.
Obnoxious – This theater seems to have gone downhill over the last 5 years. If you like being seated next to loud, obnoxious, jeering and drunk friends of cast members, getting gleecked on by loud open-mouthed smelly gum-smacking in the row behind you while you let the cast make you cringe with their bad jokes and 2D over-the-top character choices at snail's pace, go here.
We went along to see "Scandal!" on Friday night. The above accurately describes our experience. Things were already not looking good when we arrived to find an empty theater. Tickets were advertised as $5 on the website but were bait-and-switched to $10 when we got to the door.
Inside, the jeering was so loud that we actually had to put our fingers in our ears, and we could barely hear what was going on on stage. It was so bad that we ducked out 3 minutes after the show started (and what we saw in those 3 minutes was not funny).
So we figured we'd ask for a refund. The box office lady didn't seem to know anything about how to do that (to be fair it was her first day) but this was already not a good sign. She asked somebody to fetch Dan, who she said would be able to help us out.
When Dan arrived, the lady told him that we left the show right after it started and were asking for a refund. Without asking us anything at all about why we left the show, he immediately snapped that they had a "strict no-refund policy" and that he wouldn't be able to help us. He claimed all ticks were 'non-refundable' and that this was clearly stated on their website - it is not. Also, we'd bought tickets on the door, and there was no sign anywhere, or mention that tickets were non-refundable.
We protested. He then offered to give us comp tickets for another show. This sounded acceptable (mind you, he still hadn't asked us why we left) until he started to impose conditions. We would have to decide on the spot what show we wanted to see, and at what date and time. They only have a few shows a week and I was going to be out of town anyway, so this wasn't practical. We told him so and he then said he could give us "48 hours" to decide and that we could email him, because he said his "new computer system" wouldn't allow him to make changes after 48 hours. This was obviously not satisfactory (why couldn't he just give us open-ended comp tickets?) and we told him so. He said he couldn't help us further, and we left.
Shortly after, we went back, thinking we'd talk to his manager or boss. Dan turned out to be the owner! We told him we'd never return, and left. He didn't seem to care - at all - and actually seemed kind of happy about the whole thing, which is very stupid, because he never found out why we left, and because I am now writing this.
This has created a lot of bad will against the theater for us and we will never return, as long as Dan is the owner. If you want good comedy, go to IO, Second City or the Groundlings instead. Avoid ACME like the plague.
We can only guess it's changed hands in the last few years, because last time I went back in 2004 it was a much better place. The incredibly small audience should have tipped us off - there were about 10-15 audience members, for a Friday night 10pm show.
Liquid Radio Company – Went last night to the LRC's season opener of Thursday-night improvised radio plays at Acme. Six performers plus sound effects guy and keyboard guy create an hour-long classic radio play. As with most long-form improv, it's a mix of hilarious moments and jokes that fall hard, but it's definitely worth it (esp if you get the 2-for-1 coupon from the LRC's website). An intermission performance of "Portuguese Crooner" Jose had me in tears and Craig Tollifson puts in a peerless performance.
Sharp and professional house improv group and others perform in a relatively posh theater. – In Short
The Acme Company, whose alumni include Wayne Brady and Ryan Stiles, offers a variety of ensembles under its roof. The lobby, with a bright-yellow box office, pastel walls and show memorabilia, creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. With its extensive lighting, elaborate sets and velvet seats, this is more of a true theatrical experience than most improv venues. The seriously inspired can inquire about classes and learn the tricks of the trade.
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