BATS Theatre, The Heyday Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

08/10/2015 - 08/10/2015

NZ Improv Festival 2015

Production Details

The first of two special double feature shows – one ticket price, two solo performers. Melbourne’s Rik Brown takes the stage with Solo Brown; then Wellington award winning comedian Jonny Potts brings the festival Yes! I am Riverman!

BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington
Thursday 8 October
$18 Full / $14 Concession / $13 Groups 6+ /
Two show pass: $30 Full / $25 Concession 
Book online at

Solo Brown - Rik Brown

Yes! I am Riverman! - Jonny Potts

Lighting - Darryn Woods

Theatre , Improv ,

Deft comedy/pathos skills + loose goose hilarity

Review by Jo Blick 09th Oct 2015

Rik Brown’s invitation to “disappear down the rabbit hole that is my mind” is a hard one to resist. The veteran Australian improviser and previous festival favourite is the opening performer in this double header, which gives the audience a taste of two very different improv styles. 

Brown takes a traditional approach to his set, devising scenes based around three words from the audience. In this case, ‘naughty’, ‘nimble’ and ‘nautilus’ are the offers. After that it’s just Brown and his agile brain, creating a world of populated by erudite pirates with 18 different words for harbour; a high jump champion determined to do the impossible and jump a house; and a sheriff rescuing a woman who’s been sold a naughty horse by a shady horse dealer. 

Brown has a great sense of what’s working and what isn’t, deftly swapping when a seam has been mined. His work is often comedic without being reliant on gags but is balanced by touches of pathos and genuine emotion. Some of the scenes have more heft than others but overall it is a great opportunity to see a true craftsman on stage. Credit to Darryn Woods for some great work on lighting. 

If Solo Brown is all discipline and skill, then Jonny Potts’ I Am Riverman is as loose as the proverbial goose. Taking the stage with beer in hand, Potts announces that he is there to answer all our burning questions about “your next holiday destination, Whanganui.” That’s correct, we ask questions, he answers them and, as he says, “That’s the whole thing.” 

It is of course, absolutely hilarious. Questions range from “What do the dogs look like in Whanganui?” to an apparently serious enquiry about the level of lime in the tap water. Potts is by turn ranting, scholarly and jocular and keeps the show moving at a cracking pace. He certainly seems to know his stuff about Whanganui (I really hope it’s true that all the willow trees along the river sprang from a cutting taken from a tree on Napoleon’s grave).

Full credit to Potts for his opening and closing monologues also – simple but well-crafted, they lift the performance to something more than just a Q and A. And I do believe he doesn’t spill his beer once – the folk in Whanganui would appreciate that.


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