Covert Improv Night (NZ)

Maidment Theatre - Musgrove Studio, Auckland

28/04/2010 - 01/05/2010

NZ International Comedy Festival 2010

Production Details

Fresh comedy where no jokes are the same! 
The Covert Theatre, NZ’s premier improvised comedy theatre company presents its four nights of rocking good times in the 2010 NZ International Comedy Festival.
Founded in 2001, the Covert Theatre is the country’s leading improvised comedy theatre company. For four years, 2001 – 2005, it ran its own venue in K’ Road revolutionizing comedy theatre in this country and is now based at the Musgrove Studio, Maidment Theatre. 
The Covert Theatre is famous for its shows and training programmes that combine NZ’s leading comedy talent alongside rookies to the stage. People have traveled from as far as Finland, Holland, Sweden, USA and Australia to train at the Covert and learn from what critics have described as ‘improv masters’.
Covert Improv Night is rookie improv night where the recent graduates of the community art of improvisation workshop program take to the stage in crash and burn improv comedy. This is where the next generation of improv comedy stars begin their career.
The Maidment Theatre is the hub of improv comedy with seven different shows being staged over the three weeks of the Festival and Covert Improv Night kicks off this improv mayhem. Improv in NZ has never been so strong and the Covert Theatre plays a major role in developing this art form that bridges the gap between comedy and theatre.
“The Covert is all about performing high risk improv comedy,” says founder Wade Jackson. “Improv played safe becomes self-indulgent so the secret of our success has been to take huge risks.” These risks have paid off nicely for Jackson, who is a double world improv champion and founding member of internationally renowned improv act The Improv Bandits.
The comedy is refreshing and provides much need variety to the heavily skewed standup comedy in the festival. Come along and enjoy world-class Kiwi comedy.
Covert Improv Night – a different show every night!

Dates: Wed 28 April – Sat 1 May, 7pm
Venue:  Musgrove Studio, Maidment Theatre
Tickets:  Adults $18 / Conc. $15 / Groups 10+ $15
Booking:  Maidment Theatre
(09) 308 2383   
Show Duration: 1 hour   

Tied up in ropes and told to swim

Review by Caoilinn Hughes 01st May 2010

It’s rookie improv night at the Maidment’s Musgrove Studio: the final night tonight (May 1st) and it’s sold out! Rightly so, as the graduates of the Art of Improvisation workshop series deliver an energetic, slapdash hour of fun.

The Improv Bandits’ protégés are lead into textbook improv comedy games by the charismatic and highly likeable MC Steven Lyons, who is a seasoned Improv Bandit. With Lyons’ unobtrusive direction, the rookies are tied up in ropes and told to swim.

The randomly grouped newbies attempt to unravel the scenes with sheer madcap wit. This sometimes results in the painful want for a one-liner, but more often than not, we get a brave – if slightly worrying – self-effacing dog impersonation, excretion fetish or Ironing Man Championship smack down. 

The grouping of comics is key, as often a strong comic is thrown brick after brick, which results in the elimination of the group – as Lyons takes the audience’s applause as a measure of success. Even when coupled with weaker comedians, a few bandits stand out:

Amy Williamson’s powers of alchemy never fail her and it was a real shame her group was eliminated early on. Robyn Donnelly is hilarious as an Eastern European fetishist and saves the day in a few dubious scenes. Steve Lloyd’s comic timing, delivery and quick wit warranted the Jester prize last night, and he was within a hair’s breadth of it before he pulled out a sneaky pen knife on the ropes and was caught out.

Although tickets for tonight are sold out, it’s worth keeping an eye of some of these young comedians. Lyon makes a great MC, and I’ll certainly be looking out for the next Improv Bandit performance. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council