Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

16/05/2017 - 20/05/2017

NZ International Comedy Festival 2017

Production Details

Each night is pure improvised mayhem. You’ll won’t know what show you’re going to get – will it be Coconut Mojitos, Ferris Wheel, Revolver or simply fast and furious laughs? Every night is different and every show is edge of your seat improv.

“The off-the-cuff set from the Covert was brilliant” –

“Lively off-the-cuff theatre that is engaging and will leave you amazed at their quick thinking. This is theatre. This is improvisation. It is tongue in cheek humour” – Theatreview

Facebook – Covert Theatre

Herald Theatre 
Tue 16 May – Sat 20 May 2017
Full Price: $22
Concession: $18
Group 5+: $18
Cheap Wednesday: $18
*service fee may apply
Wheelchair accessible

Theatre , Improv ,

A generally pleasant time

Review by Leigh Sykes 17th May 2017

The type of improv offered by The Covert Players can be quite dependent on its audience – for offers to work from, but also for energy and support. Tonight’s audience seems ready to be entertained and there is a sense of anticipation as the upbeat tunes keep coming in advance of the show starting.

Our MC Wade Jackson gets proceedings underway with some great energy, asking us to join in with contributions as needed and providing an appealing point of engagement for the audience. There are plenty of responses as Wade practices with us, and we are all set to welcome the performers.

We are informed that these performers are new graduates from Covert’s Art of Improvisation workshops and they are performing for the first time tonight. As first time performers, they are to be commended, but as an evening’s entertainment their work is hit and miss.

The show follows a fairly recognisable format, as we are taken through a number of improvisation scenarios and tasks, some of which are funny and some of which are slow to develop. The thing I notice more and more as time goes on is that all of the scenes are very static, with a real lack of any physical improvisation. Most of the work is carried out verbally, with the result that some scenes have potential while some miss the mark.

On a number of occasions Wade intervenes to try to move the scenes forward or to give suggestions that create a little more energy. Generally the performers respond well and do create a scene that raises some laughs. There are some moments where we see someone freeze or run out of ideas, but generally they find a way to keep going. I would like to see all of the performers commit to the reality of a situation much more before trying to develop it. On the few occasions where this does happen, the result is all the better for it.

Most of the audience seem willing to chortle amiably and a generally pleasant time is had by all. I do miss the quick-fire inventiveness that I associate with great improv, but everyone has to begin somewhere and perhaps next time we see these performers they will have used this opportunity to develop their skills further.

The performers work well as a group without any one of them standing out more than the others. They show some confidence in their performance, and we should never underestimate just how hard it is to make improv look easy. This group has taken a good first step towards that goal.

I do enjoy Wade’s contributions and look forward to seeing more of his quick wit and ability to engage the audience.


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