Maidment Theatre - Musgrove Studio, Auckland

07/05/2014 - 10/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

Fresh comedy every night! 

It’s improv rookie night. Some of NZ’s latest and greatest improv comedians battle it out on stage.  

Hosted by members of The Improv Bandits, the Covert Improv comedians perform scenes, sagas and stories all made up on the spot.  

It’s crash ‘n’ burn comedy at its finest!

Get along and have a blast!

“Sheer madcap wit… the graduates of the Art of Improvisation workshop series delivers an energetic, slapdash hour of fun” – 

Dates: Wed 7 May – Sat 10 May, 7pm
Venues: Musgrove Studio, Auckland
Tickets: Adults $20.00, Conc. $18.00 
Groups 5+ $18.00* service fees may apply 
Bookings:  09 308 2383


Outrageously brilliant

Review by Regan Crummer 08th May 2014

I have always been fascinated by the art of improvisation. There is something magical about braving the boards with nothing more than sometimes a single word to guide you through the fog and mist of good old improv. The things you utter never fail to surprise and will more often than not send people into hysterical fits of laughter. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge but know for a fact that having to improvise would send some actors to an early grave. 

This short showcase, performed by six members of the Improv Bandits, is a true privilege to watch. They really have mastered the techniques behind improvisation, and this evening leaves me holding a great deal of respect for this closely knit group of thespians. It is truly a splendid performance.

The super six – Geoff Simmons, Greg Ward, Mark Scott, Tom Kane, Tony Gilbert, and Wade Jackson – start the show off with a bang (literally) with three solid freeze frame pictures, breaking the last of them with a united firing of imaginary pistols. The message is clear: the bandits are here!

This grand entrance is followed by a very informal introduction, where each of the improvisers take turns at warming the audience up using various methods, including roaring out your favorite superhero, and also mimicking laughter. A connection between the performers and the audience is immediately established here, and everyone joins in with hearty gusto. The audience is included consistently throughout the evening, adding suggestions for every stretch, and I really am a fan of this, as it adds to the seasoning of this performance.

A number of scenarios are eagerly recommended by members of the audience, and the Bandits pull each one off with skills that any comedian would envy. There are two musical numbers, one about a mysterious cucumber the other about being engaged, and these (accompanied by guitar) are ridiculously funny. As a musician myself, I have to compliment Greg Ward in particular on his spiffing voice.

There are open scenes set in a Western Cowboy Town bar.  There is a skit in where half the troupe provides voices whilst the other half acts out the physical side of things. And let’s not forget the very entertaining scene set on a desert island (location determined by a keen spectator) where the actors have to ‘become’ the emotion that is thrown at them in single words (e.g. misery, amazed, disgust).  Everything here – and I cannot stress this enough – is fresh and not rehearsed at all. Incredible. I want to join in!

Some of the formulas and techniques employed are as old as the Great Wall of China, and they are extremely and effectively delivered by the Bandits. The audience is nearly always in stiches. 

The group is very chivalrous to one another, and they obviously have a strong relationship. Successful group improvisation is hugely dependent on working as a team and the Bandits show a commitment to their teamwork that deserves to be applauded. They are able to bounce off each other, and the energy current that they create surges through the audience as well. Everything flows smoothly, and there are no awkward moments.  

I cannot recommend this evening enough to you. It is outrageously brilliant, and out of all the improvisation I have seen, this would have to be number one.  I have nothing bad to state about this performance and I am normally extremely hard to impress. Go see the show!


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council