Hamilton gardens, Victorian Garden Conservatory, Hamilton

19/02/2016 - 19/02/2016

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2016

Production Details

Improv hilarity!  

Don’t you hate it when you’re watching a show and, just as it starts to get good, someone grabs the remote … 

In sixty minutes, our four performers will perform an episode of a new television show, watch as the “channel” changes, where will it go next?

From the people who brought you Improv Combat: Age of Hamiltron, comes a unique, completely improvised show featuring four of the Waikato’s top improvisers.

Friday 19 Feb, 7pm            
Victoria Garden Greenhouse 
60 mins 

Theatre , Improv ,

Overall good fun all over now

Review by Cate Prestidge 20th Feb 2016

The team who brought us Improv Combat: Age of Hamiltron in 2015, are back with a new show using the dramatic construct of channel hopping. It’s a nifty idea for an improvised show; giving the audience recognizable starting points and the performers some structure to work from. On the opening night of this year’s Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival, the audience have come prepared to sit back and enjoy the laughs and the performers are soon into it with host Dave Taylor calling out offers and programme names.

‘Turf Warfare’ sees a bare chested Rayzillian (David Bowers-Mason) take the stage ‘Survivor’-style to narrate us through the highly charged, emotional challenges of island life. Relationships start and are instantly betrayed in trembling pieces to camera (the audience). Emma Koretz and Alice McConnochie perfectly satirise the vacuous over disclosure of this genre, with Koretz’s rapid fire, repetitive affirmations picking up the laughs.

Cue the channel change to ‘Pamela the Traveller’, which milks the careful speech and audience participation of children’s TV. “Goodness me! Nightmare has stolen the soap! What will we do?” Chirpy, bossy Pamela (played with a touch of steel by McConnochie) and devoted Mr Puddlesworth (Koretz) take off to France in pursuit on a magic carpet (of course!). Cue Bowers-Mason in a wonderfully dreadful French accent as Monsieur Croissant, and a galloping Ross McLeod as ‘Nightmare’, the inexplicable soap thief. Total nonsense, but great fun and the enjoyment and team work of the performers is particularly strong in this sequence.

‘Gardens Medical’ gives us a simmering soap opera romance, a devastating death, distant stares, hasty exits and trembling lips. Some great character connections are established in these sequences and the recurring themes work well.  Taylor throws some props at the performers for the ‘ad break’ with McLeod particularly fine, in his shouty pitch, up and down the aisle selling “Pukekos! Pukekos! Pukekos! We’ve got thousands!” and in his one word, poignant and breathy luxury perfume pitch: “Dettol.”

Occasional noise from a music event nearby is audible, but doesn’t detract and the cast finishes strongly with a ‘Turf Warfare’ challenge in slo-mo up the aisle. Great physicality from McLeod, McConnochie and Koretz battling it out to witty commentary by Bowers-Mason. Koretz’s facial mobility in this sequence is a real highlight.

The show perfectly suits our group of adults and kids aged from 11-20 and showcases the skills of the cast. Keeping largely the same characters avoids the confusion you sometimes get with improv and the format allows for extensions of offers and ideas in previous scenes. The audience forgives a few hesitations and misfires (like the song about France, with nothing rhyming with France) as the cast carries them off with confidence and humour.

Overall, good fun, although it’s a shame it is just on for one night. I look forward to seeing more from The Performance Guild in 2016.


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