The curtain opens this fall on a much emptier stage for the No-No’s comedy troupe. The Saskatoon-born group will be short more than just a member this season as they say an untimely goodbye to friend and fellow performer Matthew “Max” Bembridge.
Bembridge passed away on Sept. 30 at the age of 36. The No-No’s held their debut show this past Oct. 4 in memory of Bembridge, reassuring friends and fans alike that the laughter will live on.
With every end comes a new beginning as the No-No’s said hello to a new venue and a promising new season. The troupe have settled in to their latest home in the Le Relais community centre downtown on 4th Avenue north.
Though the scenery may have changed, the No-No’s have not forgotten their roots. Beginning in 1995 as a fresh-faced comedy group on the frontier of Saskatoon’s improv scene, they enjoyed local fame on a weekly television program as the Flying Fish Fun Factory.
With a snappy name and a healthy dose of optimism, it seemed the group had nowhere to go but up. Unfortunately, Shaw cancelled the show a few years after its conception and the group went their separate ways.
Thankfully this was not to be the end for the the troupe. The year 2001 brought a joyous reunion and a brand new cast, including the late Bembridge. The years following delivered many exciting opportunities, attracted more and more new members and in 2006 the group reintroduced themselves into the hearts and theaters of Saskatoon as the No-No’s.
With bi-weekly shows and charitable work — such as their “Improv-a-thon” Telemiracle broadcast — the No-No’s will continue to bring wit and comedic genius to the theater seats and television sets of their viewers. They are a vital facet of Saskatoon’s cultural scene, giving a unique prairie-born flair to the world of improv.
Join the No-No’s on Oct. 18 to help keep the memory and merriment of Max Bembridge alive. Tickets are $5 at the door.