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Child’s Play review: A night of non-stop laughs

A black chalkboard the phrases "Child's Play Improv" and "Can't Get Mono" written in white chalk.
Child’s Play Improv presented their show “Can’t Get Mono.”
Mackenzie Hollingsworth / The Daily Princetonian

Last week, if I was given the choice between attending a stand-up comedy show versus an improv show, I would have picked the stand-up. Having never been to an improv show prior to seeing Child's Play, I've relied upon the stereotypes I've heard about this type of comedy — that it tries too hard to be funny and instead loses all humor entirely. I had this stereotype in mind while considering my weekend plans, but the improv group Child’s Play exceeded my expectations to deliver a hilarious and humorous experience.

I spent almost the entire hour-long show laughing. The group, composed of Branson Byers GS, Ourania Glezakou-Elbert ’27, Gabriel Higbee ’26, Samara Samad ’25, Maggie Rea ’26, and Alistair Wright ’27, had a deep comedic bond that was on display throughout the show. There was never an awkward pause or humorless moment, as each member of the group would build off one another’s energy and give the audience something to laugh about.


In an interview with The Daily Princetonian, Higbee spoke to exactly that point, saying that “The group are all friends both in and out of the club, and I think you can kind of see that reflected in the show.”

In the show’s opening, Wright gave an amusing anecdote about the beginning of the semester. Instead of working on p-sets or completing readings for his classes, he told the audience that he was in the hospital with mono. From this hospital stay, “Child’s Play: Can’t Get Mono” was born. Though the situation itself was more serious than funny, Wright had a way of making it something to laugh at, setting a comedic tone for the rest of the show.

The remainder of the show alternated between games. Each game took suggestions from the audience, allowing patrons of the Friday show to get a fresh improv experience if they attended the Saturday performance. Though they rotated through a slew of games throughout the hour, three games stood out for their humor.

The first game, “New Choice,” involved two performers starting a scene at the audience’s suggestion. At a certain point, another performer — not in the scene — would clap, and the person in the scene had to repeat their last action with some variation. The scene evolved into Higbee taking on the role of Dracula while Wright acted as his son, who is apparently not very good at being a vampire. Instead of sucking blood and turning others into vampires, he just gives bad relationship advice. Throughout the scene, the repeated-yet-different actions grew in intensity, and I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched the performers interact and get increasingly dramatic as the scene progressed.

In the next game, “Three-Layer Swap,” performers Byers and Glezakou-Elbert acted out three scenes based on audience suggestions. Once the three scenes were determined, a performer not in the scene would clap, letting the performers in the scene know to switch to the next scene. This continued for a few rounds and watching as Branson and Ourannia effortlessly switched from an office/academic scandal to boxers before a fight to a Frankenstein-like situation filled the room with laughter.

The last standout segment of the night was the “Murder Mystery.” The setting was a Whole Foods Market, while the cause of death was the bubonic plague. What started as a normal murder mystery segment became a wild story about a Whole Foods worker performing experiments in the back room, from creating a collar that let animals talk to putting a human brain in an animal’s body. As the skit continued, I began to forget that no preparation was involved. To me, it felt more like a rehearsed skit due to the quick reactions and slow build of the scene, reflecting the sharp comedic skills of Child's Play.


As much as I would like to label a performer as a standout, the great qualities of the show came from each performer and the ease that everyone in the group could work together. So, if you ever want to spend an afternoon laughing harder than ever before, a Child’s Play performance would be a great place to start.

Mackenzie Hollingsworth is an assistant editor for The Prospect. She is a member of the Class of 2026 and can be reached at mh5273[at]

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