BATS Theatre, The Random Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

13/10/2021 - 13/10/2021

NZ Improv Festival 2021

Production Details

A bold group of improvisers take to the stage in an epic adventure of Dungeons and also Dragons. After four years of sell-out shows, Dungeon Master Brendon Bennetts is on the search for new adventurers to challenge. In Dungeons & Improvisers our heroes must step out from behind their character sheets and face their foes with wisdom, charisma, and an oversized 20-sided die.

“a masterful, hilarious, and genuinely moving piece of collaborative storytelling and world-building” – Pantograph Punch

Dungeons & Comedians is in its fourth year of sell out shows in Christchurch, performing monthly at Little Andromeda.

The NZ Improv Festival returns with its annual celebration of improvised theatre in all its forms. From comedy to drama, musicals to mystery, and plenty of mischief, there’s something for everyone. Eighteen unique shows over five days at the wonderful BATS Theatre – don’t miss a moment!

BATS Theatre, The Random Stage
13 October 2021
The Difference $40
Full Price $20
Group 6+ $18
Concession Price $15

The Random Stage is fully wheelchair accessible; please contact the BATS Box Office by 4.30pm on the show day if you have accessibility requirements so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.

The NZ Improv Fest takes place at BATS Theatre
Performance programme 12-16 October 2021
Workshops 8-16 October 2021
Learn more at www.improvfest.nz

Matt Carroll (music)
Zoe Higgins (op)
Wiremu Tuhiwai
Tara Swadi
Amelia Cartwright
Max Porozny
Susan Williams
Malcolm Morrison
Ryan Knighton
Matt Powell
Colin MacMillan
Emma Maguire 

Theatre , Improv ,

1 hr

Puns must have consequences

Review by John Anderson 14th Oct 2021

Settling into the intimate and generous warmth of The Random Stage at BATS, I sit back and enjoy the light fantasy jazz mood created by piano player Matt Carroll. I never considered light fantasy jazz existed until now, but here it is. It’s a chance to reflect on how much has changed since my teenage friends ventured forth into the ‘Tomb of the Lizard King’, as I can feel a sense of anticipation building for a show that on paper seems like no other I’ve seen.

I’ve enjoyed seeing the antics of Diceratops who bring “tabletop role-playing games to the stage in Wellington!” and several shows of The Improvisors to have some idea of what’s on offer, but I’ve not seen them smooshed together. I’m finding myself anticipating what the result will be.

Introduced ably by Master of Ceremonies and chief dice roller Ciarán Searle, master of shenanigans Brendon Bennetts enters like a bantam-weight boxer to cheers. He quickly introduces the concept. There will be three adventurers. The dungeon imps will create the scenes and opposition. The audience will give some plot points (a shower of frogs, a big rock and a bridge) to hang the story off. There will be a bit of dice rolling to provide luck and chance and a whole lot of improv. Within these four or five quick wry sentences, I’m fully on board with their concept.

The three adventurers quickly sketch their characters out. Bella Doon (Amelia Cartwright) is a rogue out to find fortune and friends. ‘Nimbus the Blue’ (Wiremu Tuhiwai) is an avuncular wizard of many adventures. Finally there is the big-hearted warrior (and sometimes vegan) Greg-Nog (Tara Swadi), like Egg-Nog, but Greg.

I feel joy as I see the ‘Dungeon Imps’ (Max Porozny, Susan Williams, Malcolm Morrison, Ryan Knighton, Matt Powell, Colin MacMillan and Emma Maguire) create one of the weirdest taverns I’ve seen any motley crew enter, from props, patrons, bartender and a very menacing bird. With the briefest of direction from the game master, they expertly set up the environment. Whether it is the mysterious ‘Wisty Woods’, a dramatic standoff at the ‘Bridge before the Big Rock’ or the final confrontation with the Frog Prince, it all comes together with humour and creativity.

The atmosphere and tension is aided throughout by the effective lighting of Zoe Higgins and Matt Carrol’s improvised score. Everyone aces the improv, in fact so much so, that the final battle with the extremely weird Frog Prince and his hordes has me on the edge of my seat.

As there is no script and no one knew quite how it would turn out, I find myself genuinely caring about the fate of these improbable, odd but likeable characters. I also come away with my favourite quote of the year so far: “Puns must have consequences.”

This format is definitely something different and a joy to watch. I highly recommend it. 


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