Review: Maximum Occupancy at B Street Theatre

Showtimes: Every fourth Sunday, 7pm; $12; B Street Theatre at the Sofia, 2700 Capitol Ave.; (916) 443-5300;
Rated 4.0

Maximum Occupancy is a monthly, no-frills improv show starring B Street Theatre company members Stephanie Altholz, Dave Pierini and Tara Sissom. The show’s name comes from a promise: If the room achieves maximum occupancy (75 people), the team buys everyone pizza. Not a bad incentive.

For a show that lasts just under two hours, the cast manages to pack in plenty of bits and call-backs to previous jokes. Where the first act is characterized by the more structured Harold—a traditional improv template born out of Chicago—the second act loosens up with shorter, less-connected scenes.

This month’s show was a solid entry in the Harold Canon, if something like a Harold Canon existed. Based on the audience suggestion of “drinking,” the team constructed three interconnected stories: a couple who bonded over alcohol but couldn’t seem to shake the clingy bartender who first brought them together; a modern-day Jesus with a teen son who could miraculously conjure fistfuls of cigarettes; and a woman seeking revenge against another woman who turned her dog into jerky.

While there were some occasional lulls, and it wasn’t always clear where the team was taking certain ideas, they always managed to land plenty of jokes, and they ended every scene on a high note.