A Very Merry Scriptless 2011

Heaton Intermediate Theatre (133 Heaton St, Merivale), Christchurch

08/12/2011 - 22/12/2011

Production Details

Love Actually, Notting Hill & Bride and Prejudice – stuck in a blender and put to music in A Very Merry Scriptless!

The annual festive family favourite from The Court Jester’s, A Very Merry Scriptless, returns to Christchurch audiences, this year as a fully improvised musical opening on December 8th at Heaton Intermediate. 

Court Jesters Kathleen Burns, Jeff Clark and Andrew Todd are joined by musician Jordan Smith to create unique romantic storylines, original songs and characters (all with a Christmas theme), at every performance. 

Director Dan Pengelly and Musical Director Luke di Somma describe the show as “taking ‘Love Actually’, ‘Notting Hill’ and ‘Bride and Prejudice’, sticking everything in a blender and seeing what happens.” 

A Very Merry Scriptless runs on. All tickets are $16. 

A VERY MERRY SCRIPTLESS with The Court Jesters
from 8-22 December
Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8pm
at the Heaton Intermediate Theatre (133 Heaton St, Merivale)
Show times: 8pm Dec 8, 10, 14, 15, 17, 21 and 22
All tickets $16

Bookings: 963 0870 or via www.courttheatre.org.nz
(On-site booking available at The Court Theatre, Bernard St, Addington, from December 10)

Kathleen Burns 
Jeff Clark 
Andrew Todd 

Jordan Smith 

Rebekah Ising 

Luke di Somma 

Dan Pengelly 

Trust and solidarity gifts a right cracker

Review by Lindsay Clark 18th Dec 2011

There have been many popular formats for improvised shows over the years but the current showcase for the talents of this merry band would have to be one of the most successful on record.

The house is full at Heaton Street, relaxed and receptive to the good cheer dished up with just enough risky and testing offers to keep us all attentive and entertained. We are prepared to be silly. 

Of course the audience is well hooked from the moment we are given the power to choose some of the what where and who of the musical to be. The negotiated final selection settles on dragons, a hospital, a wild life photographer and advent calendars. 

Thus all the audience offers are made before the enterprise proper is underway and the story can develop without interruption, unlike some of the evenings where separate scenes deal with a series of challenges.

The musical format is based the old style though, where action is stopped while a song clears the air or underscores a mood. Tonight it offers another source of laughs. 

Probably such analysis is pointless though, because the real game we are there to watch is the intrepid team ‘making it work’ – at speed and incisively.

A hospital? Right, we’ll have a busy ‘Here we are at the Hospital ‘ number to set the scene and a wheelchair bloke, war veteran, sympathetic doctor (female) and new nurse (male). Her cuddly cat helps the patient feel better, so that she documents the success through film and presto, we have the link to wild life photography which seemed so unlikely only moments ago. 

Similar daring moves have doctor and nurse romancing through his Dragons and Dungeons game interest and the truly unnerving advent calendar challenge is solved as the head surgeon reveals a deep seated aversion to a new ‘lift the flap’ operation, caused by the wretched time he had as an abused child whose parents socked him through the flap openings.

Daft in print, delightfully ingenious in the context of improvisation. 

It takes a team with  assured physical and vocal skills to handle song and story without dropping the pace or losing the thread. Jeff Clark, Andrew Todd and Kathleen Burns each bring individual strengths to their hectic performances, but the outstanding quality of the work is their trust and solidarity with each other.

Collectively and with the astute talent of pianist Jordan Smith rolling out the ‘melodies’, they put together a right cracker, fitting for the season. 


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