BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

10/10/2020 - 10/10/2020

NZ Improv Festival 2020: Close To Home

Production Details

When all you’ve got is each other…

Head and Heart combine in a showcase of improv duets, with players chosen from the Duets workshop taught by Doom & Bloom, aka Brendan ‘Monty’ West & Ben Zolno. 

The Duets workshop builds around finding connection, commonality, and compromise between disparate people. Participants develop unique chemistry as they form close-knit duos. On stage, you’ll see Meisner-inspired realism, and truth discovered through spontaneity and connection, taught to the teams by Bloom. You’ll also experience the duos deftly crafting narrative on the fly, finding and building the poetry of the scene, shaping performances along with the audience, a process guided by Doom.

You won’t want to miss the debut of both the workshop, and their comedic & dramatic performance.

NZ Improv Fest invites lovers of improvised theatre everywhere to join us in celebrating the art form we all know and love this 3-11 October, from wherever you are and wherever you’re at. Join us in Wellington, or connect with us online, in a celebration of world class, local talent!

BATS Theatre, The Dome 
10 October 2020
Full Price $20
Group 6+ $18
Concession Price $15

NZ Improv Fest: Close To Home takes place at BATS Theatre
Performance programme 6-10 October 2020
Workshops 3, 4, 10 October 2020

Learn more at www.improvfest.nz and don’t miss a moment!

Theatre , Improv ,

1 hr

A welcome workshop-derived show

Review by Malcolm Morrison 11th Oct 2020

Duets is the penultimate show of the New Zealand Improv Festival 2020 and is the end product of a day-long workshop of the same title by Doom & Bloom (Brendan ‘Monty’ West & Ben Zolno). Over the course of the day, the participants were paired with people with which they had never improvised before and built rapport. Duets is an hour long showcase of those new duos; three mini-shows celebrating these new dynamics. 

The first pair introduces themselves as ‘Sunshine and Malice’ (Ali Little and Megan Connolly) and ask for two words from the audience: what men and women are interested in respectively. To which they get the answers “steak” and “equal pay”. They proceed to perform scenes set in, what I assume is, Victorian England between two brother-sister pairs; the sisters first, then the brothers. The pair delight in talking about how attracted they are to the other player’s sibling, whilst trying to conceal their immense attraction to their same gender counterpart – to the audience’s great amusement.

The second pair are called ‘Epic Daily’ (Max Porozny and Susan Williams) and start by saying that they won’t be asking for any inspiration from the audience, but assure us that it is all improvised. What follows is a science fiction story about the drama between a sassy robot (Porozny) and a new, unsure captain of a spaceship (Williams), with other characters making appearances. The pair enjoy the calm pace of their story, delighting in delivering simple lines and letting their reactions sit.

Finally, the third pair, ‘Settle Down Mates’ (Ian Harcourt and Tim Kapoor) ask for a word to inform a character (Harcourt) and a hobby (Kapoor). For this they are given “discombobulate” and “stamp collecting”. The pair appears to be going for a Beckett-meets-slapstick style and pull it off very well. The story is about two members of the Discombobulist Party running for the current election. It’s a slow start, but as wordplay and physical comedic games are slowly set up, the audience finds themselves in stitches with laughter. 

This kind show within the festival, one derived or cast from a workshop, is sadly another victim of the global epidemic. Previous festivals had many shows consisting of improvisers from different walks of life being cast together and finding new delights. Being a part of that delight, either from the audience or as an improviser, has been a highlight of previous festivals. So it is fantastic that Doom & Bloom have hosted this playground for new Duets. It will be interesting to see if any of them continue outside of NZIF 2020.  


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