05/03/2023 - 09/03/2023
DEvised and improvised by Bethany Miller and Logan Hunt
Presented by Bethany Miller and Logan Hunt
Bethany and Logan serve up songs and drama from the twists and turns of your favourite board/card games. They’re the best of friends, but who’s better?
Who can roll the highest? Does Rock truly beat Scissors or does that only work on paper?
Featuring the creative and musical energy of Bethany Miller and Logan Hunt, this improvised musical is game night turned gauntlet. Experience desperate rhymes and desperate leisure unfolding live as we play.
Counter Culture, 211 Victoria St, Te Aro, Wellington
Sun 5 March, 7pm
Tue 7 March, 6.30pm
Wed 8 March, 6pm
Thu 9 March, 6.30pm
Comedy , Improv , Music , Theatre ,
Delightfully ‘Fringey’, frenetic and buoyant with glorious energy and musicality
Review by Emma Maguire 06th Mar 2023
Counter Culture Cafe is an utterly strange venue for a Fringe show, and perhaps one that’s not all that accessible, but it’s fitting for the show I’m here to see: Battle Riffs, a part-improvised, part-devised musical about board games and friendship.
Bethany Miller and Logan Hunt play ‘Bethany’ and ‘Logan’, who are here rekindling their friendship after a long time apart as they fight to see who is the champion at board games. They also play the ‘Mystic Meebles’ who step outside the gaming world and also seem to control time and chance with their magical powers.
Taking us through songs like ‘Game Night’, and ‘Setting It Up’, ‘Bethany’, ‘Logan’ and the Mystic Meebles draw us through a rough and dramatic fight across a board game table – one where a friendship is strained, an epic battle with swords and battleships threatens to spill out into the rest of the cafe, and the two characters realise in the end that they just prefer to spend time together, and they don’t need the excuse of gaming to be in the same place. Carcassonne pieces spill out across the table, ‘Bethany’ claims she loves Settlers of Catan but can’t seem to remember the rules, and we all take a second to breathe with some chess.
It is a frenetic show, and one where the stakes just keep on building. A particular highlight for me is when ‘Bethany’ has her femme fatale moment and sings a gorgeous song (accompanied by Logan on a piano keyboard) about how she’s biding her time before she makes her epic board game victory. Both performers bring a glorious energy to the work, and I am truly buoyed along by their stage presence, as well as their musicality.
From what I’ve been told, the majority of the songs in this piece are devised (written by Logan Hunt), but ‘Setting It Up’ is an intentionally improvised piece sung while trying to figure out how to set up a play board for the game Terra Mystica. It’s hilarious and has the audience in stitches. Both performers have incredible voices, with great vocal control, and I am constantly wowed by the talent on display.
I find myself warmed by the silliness of it all, and the musical talent of our two performers, but I hope for a little more polish, especially considering what I’ve seen from these two artists in the past. I find nuance to be a little lost across the show and am often left wondering quite what is happening during parts of the narrative. However, I’m sure these are things that will improve across the season as the performers get used to the foibles of their performance space. Battle Riffs is truly a very ‘Fringey’ show, and it delights in that element, which is why you should roll the dice and see it. Arrive early if you want a seat at the back!
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