Garry Trotter and the Philosopher’s Whatchamacallit!

Circa Two, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

02/03/2010 - 06/03/2010

NZ Fringe Festival 2010

Production Details

What the Harry Potter books don’t tell you but The Improvisors will is that New Zealand has its very own school for wizardry and witchcraft. But like everything else in this country it doesn’t get the good press it deserves.

That’s about to change.

Join Garry Trotter and his chums from Sheepforts School of Wizardry, Wichcraft and Agricultural Technology to solve magical mysteries, meet mythical beasts and bring the cows in for evening milking.

You’d be a muggle to miss it!

Garry Trotter and the Philosopher’s Whatchamacallit is the first of five anniversary productions planned in 2010 for the celebration of The Improvisors 20th Anniversary Season. Starting 1990 at Circa Theatre, in 20 years The Improvisors have achieved over 40 shows, covering everything from musicals to multimedia, Shakespeare to Soap Opera and of course Theatresports and were awarded BEST COMEDY at the 2009 Fringe Festival.

2 – 6 March at 7:30pm.

Circa Two, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St

Book: 04 801 7992
Tickets: $18/15/12  

Bound to be a hilarious, if not magical

Review by Priyanka Bhonsule (Hutt News) 03rd Mar 2010

Reviewing an improv performance can be a tricky task; while I was taking notes of which jokes worked well and which scenes were absolute highlights, I was also aware how it might be completely different on another night.

But rest assured you will be watching masters of the improvisation art. The six actors on stage have been in the business for some time now – The Improvisors are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year – and their ease on the stage shows through.

The story, in its very basic form, is a spoof of the unparalleled success that is Harry Potter but it’s also a playful poke at politics, the New Zealand education system and Briscoes. As an audience we’re divided into three houses, with names of famous New Zealanders that we nominated. Throughout the play, audience input is sought and the Improvisors work brilliantly with whatever is thrown at them.

At Sheepforts School of Wizardry, Witchcraft and Agricultural Technology, bumbling Garry Trotter (Richard Faulkner) is trying to keep up with magical classes and milking the cows, when he is entrusted with the task of stopping the dark force of She Who Must Not Be Named.

He is joined in his quest by the school’s caretaker Hybrid (Kenny King), literature nerd Alistair (Ian Harcourt), a French exchange student (Sophia Elisabeth) and Hybrid’s cowhound (Pete Doile). The events are well-narrated by Sheepforts’ Principal Trevally (Greg Ellis).

The cast have their finger on New Zealand’s pulse – current affairs, controversial news stories, oddball characters making headlines all get the once over as do long-standing Kiwisms such as some people’s obsessive love for animals, the Briscoes lady and Vogels.

The political jokes, picking on the Ministry of Education’s new national standards more than anything else, are well-received by the audience.

On the night I attended, however, the biggest laughs were provoked by Tim Holloway-Jones, who played the new Defence against the Dark Arts teacher, Mr O’Riordan, from a little known island between Ireland and Scotland which explained his mishmash of an accent. Crippled with an affliction (which will change every night I suspect), he was instantly one of the most memorable of the cast, along with Ellis.

With a strong cast who know the ropes and a story that (almost) everyone is familiar with and loves, Garry Trotter and the Philosopher’s Whatchamacallit is bound to be a hilarious, if not magical, night out.
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