BATS Theatre, Wellington

07/10/2016 - 07/10/2016

NZ Improv Festival 2016

Production Details

If you knew you were dying what memories would you want to relive? Death Comes To Us All explores the delicate balance between life and death and how death makes living that much sweeter. 

Directed by Katherine Weaver and Wiremu Tuhiwai, and starring a cast gathered together from festival participants. Part of our Spontaneous Showcase, featuring six seasoned directors bringing their work to life with a brand new cast gathered just days before. Across this year’s New Zealand Improv Festival every cast, crew, and production will come together in unique combinations, creating spontaneous comedy and theatre every single night. With a range of shows and directors, and players from all around New Zealand (and the world!) you’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime treat every time.

The Directors 
Katherine Weaver is an improviser, actor, teacher and director from Melbourne. She has been improvising with Impro Melbourne for over 10 years and is currently co-artistic director. She has performed for many seasons with Impro Melbourne in such shows as Theatresports™, Gorilla Theatre™ and Maestro™. Her love of performing is only matched by her love of teaching, which she has been honoured to do in Wurzburg Germany, Wellington New Zealand and Adelaide Australia.

Wiremu Tuhiwai is an improvisor, actor, teacher and a co-creative director of the Wellington Improvisation Troupe. He has been improvising within the windy borders of Wellington for just shy of 10 years. He has performed for many seasons with Wellington Improvisation Troupe and with Best on Tap. His love of improvisation is only matched by his love for other improvisors.

BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington 
Friday, October 7, 2016
$18 Full / $15 Conc / $14 Groups 6+
Three show pass $39 / Late shows $10
All performances and workshops at BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce
Book now at  

Theatre , Improv ,

55 mins

An ingenious premise skilfully developed

Review by John Smythe 08th Oct 2016

As a black-clad figure – Death (Wiremu Tuhiwai) – waits forebodingly at the door, singer/musician Isaac Thomas sets the titular theme with a suitably portentous lyric. Conversely white-clad Life – Katherine Weaver – sets the scenes by nominating simple starting points. There are no ‘ask-fors’ but we intuit her offers are as new to the player as they are to us. Of course they are – this is an improv festival.

Rik Brown and Clare Kerrison leap at the opportunity to be the new couple in their new house. Gareth’s instantly invented passion for cooking ignites Gail’s passion for doing untold dishes. Their life is bliss and all bodes well …

Across town a pub owner – Chris (Malcolm Morrison) is preparing to open when a Life-prescribed knock at the door brings Laura Irish into the action. She discovers her name is Petra, he discovers he is her debt-beset brother, she discovers she could help attract business if she agreed to “have a signing” at the pub but she is not inclined to be nice to “the worst brother ever.”

While little more is revealed about her writing career, Jim Fishwick does add to the dysfunctional relationship as Petra’s agent-cum-lover, Stephen. Is murder in the offing here?

Meanwhile at the Post Office, where Kate Wilson’s Susan works, Brendon Bennetts’ Jonathan arrives to get a passport photo – and when she impulsively invites herself to join his on his OE, it’s hard for him to achieve the compulsory non-smiling photo.

What brings a dramatic edge to these evolving and sometimes intersecting scenarios is the spectre of death, lurking un-noticed by the characters yet ever-present. A kiss or a touch unexpectedly seals the fate of one – whereupon the lighting state (Darryn Woods) changes and the imminently deceased shares not the story of how they die (that’s left for us to imagine) but a last memory, which the other actors step up to recreate in the moment.

I’m told the idea had been to see everyone killed off but in the event a silent tussle plays out between Life and Death, and we are gifted the possibility of a happy ending. Petra (who seems to have been the sole survivor of a plane crash, or maybe it was an in-flight gas-poisoning and hers was the only oxygen mask that worked) turns up as a customer in the grieving Gareth’s café …

It’s an ingenious premise for an improv show and this team builds on its promise with consummate skill. Unfortunately this is a one-off airing but – as other reviews attest – the wonderfully talented participants are actively involved in other formats throughout the Festival.

The buzz in the crowded BATS bar attests to the popular success of the Festival and the animated debrief conversations I catch snippets of confirms these improvisers – some familiar to each other; some working with others for the first time – are deeply committed to their craft in their quest for creating moments of art.  

There are just three more different shows today – 6.30, 8 and 9.30pm. Those who have been to any this week won’t need my encouragement to sample some more but if you haven’t got round to it yet, grab your chance. This is world class improtainment. 


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