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

17/10/2019 - 18/10/2019

NZ Improv Festival 2019

Production Details

Stories that weave truth with fiction, songs and drama, puppets and flesh in a comedic exploration of what queer life is like in Brisbane. Each show is different, inspired by the audience and can live for one night only…

Hooking Up / Trade is part of an ongoing cycle of work that explores queer life in Brisbane. It presents an unvarnished view with both the highs and lows, where simple moments can form moments of connection.

Corporation Theatre is a Brisbane based company that uses improvisation as its main inspiration to develop theatrical work. The work aims to be human and personal, where we find the joy and absurdity of life and engage with the audience beyond that of a passive observer.

BATS Theatre: The Random Stage
17 – 18 October 2019
at 8:30pm
Full Price $20
Concession Price $15
Group 6+ $15
Full Price Season Pass – 3 shows for $45
Concession Price Season Pass – 3 shows for $36

NZ Improv Festival

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.

Theatre , Improv ,

1 hr

Hooking up trades audience participation for intimate self reflection

Review by Carrie Thiel & Conan McKegg 18th Oct 2019

The Hooking Up / Trade troupe from Brisbane, Australia – Mark Grimes, Ryan Goodwin, Tom Dunstan, Amy Driscoll and Gabby Carbon – set out to explore the highs and lows of queer life.

Jumping straight into bed and racy content is a captivating way to start, but Hooking Up / Trade could spend a little more time introducing themselves and warming up the audience before launching into personal (some might even say ‘private’) questions.  While the opening scene tries to engage the audience, it isn’t clear as to what is just rhetorical commentary and what are open questions to the audience.

For a show about ‘hooking up’ there isn’t a lot of boundary pushing and the show never gets that racy again.  The cast seems a little uncomfortable with intimacy towards each other.  Most don’t kiss, and physical contact is oddly chaste for a show about sexual themes. 

Many scenes manage to keep to a theme of the challenges of sexuality and relationships, and through this we see some really great dramatic improv moments, which remind us that not all improv is for laughs.  This show delves into relationships that are based in reality. 

Tapping in with new ideas and characters, from Driscoll’s ‘inner-self conscience’ to Dunstan’s ‘unborn child’, is a great convention but several offers end up disregarded and falling a bit flat. 

The cast often dive into puppet shows and songs. The use of puppetry brings a whimsical element into play and makes potentially uncomfortable narratives very entertaining.  Grimes’ musical direction is also a fun addition.  Improvised and educational songs such as Driscoll’s ‘Vagina Song’ are a highlight, and audience members inexperienced with clitoral stimulation and the sensitive nature of the vulva learn things they may otherwise not have known.  These can be a mixed bag, but when you get a fully improvised song about vaginas (or more accurately, vulva), it is hard to complain.

Other stand out moments draw from the actors’ personal experiences, a hilarious example being Goodwin and Driscoll’s re-enactment of “ghosting in person” her church-going boyfriend.  Further re-enactments of uncomfortable dating situations would be great to see. 

If you are not wanting a lot of audience interaction, this is a show that the audience spectates rather than interacts with.  This troupe does not shy away from exploring deep moments and delivers some very authentic characters and situations. 


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