Cavern Club, 22 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

10/02/2017 - 13/02/2017

The Scruffy Bunny at Courtenay Creative, 49 Courtenay Place, Wellington

10/03/2019 - 23/03/2019

NZ Fringe Festival 2019

NZ Fringe Festival 2017 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT)

In the 2017 Fringe WIT will be taking Wellington audiences on a wild improvised ferris wheel ride and spinning together memorable characters and delightful stories.

The Ferris Wheel format was created by Wade Jackson for Auckland’s Improv Bandits.  The Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT) is excited to be bringing it to Wellington for the 2017 Fringe Festival. Set on the classic fairground ride each night’s unique show will star a rotating cast.  As well as familiar faces from WIT shows such as ‘Return to the Planet’, ‘Gorilla’ and ‘Micetro’ there will be some bold new additions to the ensemble.

Hayley Webster produced WIT’s hilarious 2016 Fringe show ‘Attack of the Killer B-Movie’.  For 2017 she is thrilled to be taking on the roles of Producer and Director for Ferris Wheel, declaring that  “the charm is that the characters and stories can be very real.”  She knows when the audience connects “they relate to the characters in some way, that captivates and draws them in, so experience the highs and lows of the ride.”

WIT is Wellington’s community based improv troupe, its players share a love of storytelling and work together as a team to inspire the audience.

“Creative ingenuity, responsiveness and, yes, wit” — Theatreview

Wellington Improvisation Troupe presents Ferris Wheel
Venue: Cavern Club, 22 Allen Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Dates: 10 – 13 February 6:30pm
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: Koha

About WIT

Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT) is Wellington’s not-for-profit, community based improvisational theatre group, where improvisers of all ability levels are given opportunities to develop their skills through training and performance. None of the performances are scripted, and inspiration comes from offers the audience gives the performers.


NZ Fringe 2019

The Scruffy Bunny at Courtenay Creative, 49 Courtenay Place
Sunday 10 March 2019
Saturday 16 March
Sunday 17 March
Saturday 23 March
General Admission $10.00 Concession $7.00 Fringe Addict $7.00
Wheelchair access available  

Ali Little, Brenton Hodgson, Mike Webster, Wiremu Tuhiwai, Oliver Probert, Phil Anderson, Sam Jarman, Barin Das, Gitta Majumder, Lorraine Ward, Claire Alderton, Tristram Domican, Janet Humphris, Hedy Manders, Joel Luscombe, Duncan Ballinger, Kate Zebranski 
Brenton Hodgson, Matt Carroll, Gitta Majumder, Heidi Drew, Shaila Mehta-Wilson, Hedy Manders, Susan Williams, Michael Webster, Sergey Sudakov, Colin MacMillan, Joel Luscombe, Ali Little, Andreas Kubisch
Musician: Severin Gourley
Operator: Hayley Webster

Theatre , Improv ,

1 hr (2019 Fringe - Sun & Sat only)

Feels like a quite promising rehearsal

Review by John Smythe 11th Mar 2019

Everything is up in the air in the Ferris Wheel format – there is ‘blue sky’ potential for anything to evolve, verbally at least; there is limited potential for physical action.

A bar (i.e. barrier) adorned with a led light strip is the only set. The producer/ director, operator Hayley Webster wittily welcomes us to the ride. A keyboard musician (Severin Gourley) sets the mood with fairground music.

Over the next 50 minutes, a rotating cast of improvisers, in groups of three or two, step up to the bar in turn and converse while trapped alongside each other for an imagined revolution or so.

There are no audience ‘ask-fors’ so we have no idea if each group has agreed on a starting point or the person who speaks/acts first is offering something truly spontaneous. But it’s clear they are listening carefully to each other and slowly sketching in who they are and what concerns them.

The energy level is low; no-one is excited to be on this fairground ride – except for one man (in the third group) who loudly expounds on the dubious history of this particular Ferris Wheel to his long-suffering female companions. Otherwise the conversations play out quite softly, tentatively even – and too often key words get lost under the music which plays at a pitch that resonates much more than voices do in the high-ceilinged, concrete and plaster, ex-bank edifice of Courtenay Creative.

Brenton Hodgsonbecomes the disappointed dad of a son (Matt Carroll) and daughter (Gitta Majumder) whose exam results raise questions about their futures. Heidi Drewand Shaila Mehta-Wilsonemerge as concerned about the state of a queen bee and her hive. To women, played by Hedy Mandersand Susan Williams, are either a mother-and-daughter or a couple on their honeymoon (I think an offer was dropped there, unless one likes to call her new wife “Mum”) – and they are the ones trapped on this ride with their boorish facts-nerd ‘friend’ (Michael Webster).

Sergey Sudakovturns out to be a superior work colleague of Colin MacMillan’s Bob, about to lose his job and be paid out in honey – i.e. they have picked up on the bee theme. Two teachers (Ali Littleand Andreas Kubisch) commiserate and conspire with another (Joel Luscombe) who has just lost his job …

As they rotate through four cycles, the stories evolve – some realistically, others surrealistically – and elements get picked up by others, creating a sense of cross-fertilisation. Most interestingly the at-risk employee metamorphoses into a bee – and another player slips in to provide his wings.

The final revolution is dedicated to resolution. Dad is reconciled to the ambitions of his children. The bee women discover life and love goes on, even in the face of death. The women’s strategy to send the facts-nerd to Bulgaria is compromised by one of the women revealing she, too, is a facts-nerd. The work colleagues, both bees now, head for Bulgaria to make parachutes from German bees wax (linking to the fate of the dad/children’s wife/mother). The teachers realise their Breakfast Club has come to an end.  

Overall I feel we have witnessed a quite promising rehearsal; that this WIT team needs to find the pitch of this new Scruffy Bunny space and lift their energy to performance level. Also I cannot help but feel we’d feel more enrolled and engaged if we’d been asked to contribute something – to be plucked from a hat, perhaps, at the start of each group’s first ride to kick-start each scenario. More jeopardy would, I feel, make the ‘ride’ more entertaining. 


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Essentially delightful energy, alertness, and vulnerability

Review by Margaret Austin 11th Feb 2017

“Buckle in for the ride,” we are advised on venturing in to the Cavern Club.

A strange iron bar straddles the stage space, the cast of Ferris Wheel are lined up in the front row, the energy is palpable.

The Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT) have borrowed Auckland-based creator Wade Jackson’s theatrical format to present a light-hearted look at some personal stories.  

Taking turns behind the iron bar, which represents the safety gate that holds Ferris wheel riders in, two or three performers at a time give us snippets of their relationships. Allusions to the Ferris wheel and the fairground where it’s located add coherence to the whole performance.

“I may have skipped a bit on your education,” is the endearing confession made by one character to his son, who, equally endearingly, insists that he loves his daddy nevertheless. His daddy, who happens to be the fairground owner, promises to pass the business to his neglected son in compensation.

One of the more complex stories presents an intriguingly ambiguous sexual interplay in which neither the performers nor the audience can be quite sure what’s going on.   

Cleverly, each relationship reaches some kind of resolution, incorporating ‘secrets’ contributed by the audience.

The live music, provided by a keyboard player, occasionally drowns out words. One particularly quiet voiced performer earns a “Speak up!” from someone in the audience. This interjection is promptly taken up by the actors and woven in to their dialogue.

It is difficult to tell whether the performers are offering us a wholly improvised dialogue, or whether they have an agreed starting point or theme. This only adds to the show’s essential delightfulness, depending for effect on a combination of energy, alertness, and vulnerability.

This group had spadesful of all three, resulting in a performance that was fresh and invigorating. 


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