Don’t Break the Rules

Ages: 6 - 12Producer: Pinna Artist: Pinna

In each episode of this weekly comedy improv gameshow on Pinna, the on-demand, ad-free, audio service, four professional voice actors (voices listeners have probably heard in cartoons and other podcasts) join host Carly Ciarrocchi live in the recording studio to ad lib characters, scenes and stories with no rehearsal or preparation—all based on kids’ suggestions.

The actors take turns opening their sealed envelope, reading the cues, and creating their characters on the spot before answering a couple of silly questions about themselves in-character. Characters range as far and wide as children’s imaginations, from “The Biggest Turkey Ever” to an “Inventor Who Makes Whacky Cleaning Products,” from the “Queen of the Lunch Ladies” to an “Evil Potato Chip.”

Once the actors “get into their character,” they are given a scene or challenge to improvise, all in-character and interacting until the host catches someone breaking the rules. The rules: Stay in-character; keep up with the ongoing storyline; and don’t say the secret “Gotcha Word” which only the host and audience knows. Actors who break rules are eliminated until only one remains standing.

Is this podcast funny? Improv is not for everyone. It’s an acquired taste. So, everyone isn’t going to love the silly, fast-paced humor here that sounds like cartoon characters having a zany time together. Some will love it. That said, beyond fun and funny, exposure to the impromptu, in-the-moment acting can provide a mind-opening experience for some kids.

Don Oldenburg ©2019 Parents’ Choice

A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of “The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion” (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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