IDIOTS: Back 2 School

Te Karanga Gallery, Auckland

26/10/2010 - 29/10/2010

Production Details

Sampson employs some of his favourite actors and directors working in Auckland to create a comedy feast of the highest order.”
IDIOTS – Reviewed by Caoilinn Hughes (Theatreview)

The second instalment of IDIOTS is here! 

Nic Sampson’s pencil has gotten sharper and his comical writing is shockingly brilliant. This time the scenes are interlaced providing for accumulative hilarity.

Set at a high school the day before the school ball (or ‘formal’ if you are from the South Island), Idiots: Back 2 School is a myriad of delightful and disgusting characters thrown into some outlandish and awkward school-yard situations! Rest assured, you are in for an uproarious treat this time around!

This is theatre it’s rawest form. No lights, sound effects or theatrical tricks “Idiots: Back 2 School” is a truckload of directorial and acting talent fused with some hilarious scripting and presented for you’re viewing pleasure on a bare gallery floor.

Your attendance should be ‘no-brainer’ – Why? At the end of the show you pay what you think it’s worth! No disclaimer necessary! This is risk-free night at the theatre!

Keisha Castle-Hughes, Gareth Williams, Morgana O’Reilly, Nic Sampson, Ryan Richards, Renee Lyons, Ari Boyland,  Simon Ward, Elizabeth McMenamin, Ash Jones, Lee Smith-Gibbons, Joseph Moore and Thomas Sainsbury.

Idiots: Back 2 School
8:00pm, 26th – 29th October
Te Karanga Gallery – 208 K’ Road
Pay what you think it’s worth!

Keisha Castle-Hughes
Gareth Williams
Morgana O’Reilly
Nic Sampson
Ryan Richards
Renee Lyons
Ari Boyland
Simon Ward
Elizabeth McMenamin
Ash Jones
Lee Smith-Gibbons
Joseph Moore
Thomas Sainsbury

Many brilliant comic moments

Review by Sian Robertson 27th Oct 2010

Nic Sampson has written a sort-of sequel to Idiots, which played at Te Karanga in July. Idiots – Back 2 School is a series of interrelated vignettes about high school life, complete with callous break-ups, awkward flirtations, ghosts of the past, student-teacher romance, trying to get high, a substitute teacher, sporting traditions, petty revenge and… a text messaging seagull.

The five different directors in charge of nine scenes have kept a cohesive style to the whole play, which are mostly self-contained duets set in and around the school. The common theme is the anticipation of the School Formal, which unfortunately clashes with an important rugby game. The final scene throws several characters from previous scenes in together and brings things to a head.

The ghost of a former head master (played with excellent creepiness by Gareth Williams) haunts the current one (Renee Lyons), to try and reinvigorate outdated traditions. A rugby nut (Ryan Richards) makes the necessary personal sacrifice to keep his already limited mind on the game. There is tension in the staff room, innuendo in the music department and miscreant behaviour in the bushes.

An unexpected highlight is Morgana O’Reilly’s idealistic seagull; I also loved ‘substi-teacher’ Mr Watson, played by Thomas Sainsbury, who reminded me of a try-hard substitute teacher I had at school; and Nic Sampson’s own Mr Frew, the PE teacher whose smouldering resentment is barely concealed below a smarmy facade. 

New writer Nic Sampson has recruited a smorgasbord of talent in terms of actors and directors, and there are many brilliant comic moments in his 90-minute script for them to sink their teeth into. There are too many to mention everyone individually (click here for full details), suffice to say the performances are of a consistently high standard. 

Although a little rough around the edges I could gripe about the script needing some fine-tuning or the cast lacking sufficient rehearsal time to wring the most out of it this is part of its charm. Also, you get to vote with your wallet: rather than buying tickets, you pay what you think it’s worth at the end, which I think lends itself well to this sort of lo-fi, short run, hands-on theatre. 

Due to the seating arrangement, it’s sometimes hard to see what’s going on, especially the scene in the music room where Sally (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and Brian (Ash Jones) are huddled in a corner of the stage area. The back two rows have to crane their necks to see past the people in front. This could be fairly easily remedied; scenes in which the action is more centre-stage aren’t a problem. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


Wriggles October 27th, 2010

I have to say, I didn't mind the awkward action between the music students taking place in a corner. I couldn't see from where I was, but my imagination had a great time filling in the visuals.

Mainly thanks to Nics raw writing ability. What appeals to me the most about his work is a consistent and hilarious sense of humour. Nic has a very real, very acute and very unique sense of humour and I am envious of his ability to consistently and brilliantly communicate it.

I try not to laugh at shows because I have little self control and it is often loud and very embarrassing for me. I left this show humiliated. 

Props to O'Reilly.

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