Improv Bandits

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland

22/05/2007 - 26/05/2007

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

The Improv Bandits, the renegades of New Zealand comedy are celebrating 10-years of entertaining NZ and the world with five nights of their rollicking good show as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival in May.

The season sold out in 2006 and The Improv Bandits have been the stalwarts of NZ comedy over the last 10 years. They’ve won a world championship, performed at internationals festivals around the world and have auditioned for TV’s Whose Line Is It Anyway?   

The Improv Bandits, reviewed as one of NZ’s most successful comedy act have won rave reviews and accolades from around the globe. They have shared the stage with comedy heavyweights such as Colin Mochrie (Whose Line Is It Anyway?), Dan Castenella (voice of Homer from The Simpsons) and George Wendt (Norm from Cheers) and starred in the 2004 Comedy Gala on TV2.

The Improv Bandits are made up of six of the best improv actors in the country headed by double world improv champion Wade Jackson. The Improv Bandits are Wade Jackson, Mark Scott, Tom Kane, Greg Ward, Paul Paice and Steven Lyons.

“It’s been a great start to 2007,” says Wade Jackson, founder of the troupe, “with shows so far in Waihi, Queenstown and plans to visit Rotorua, Whangarei and Wellington after the Festival. It’s nice to be performing on our home turf here in Auckland.”

The recipe for The Improv Bandits success is how they work together as a team. With a motto of “no scripts, no gimmicks, no safety net!” they can’t afford to let egos and imaginations battle on stage.

“With improv, every show is different,” says Mark Scott. “That way it’s always fresh not only for the audience but for us too.”

The Improv Bandits have the reputation as one of most exciting comedy shows ever to come out of New Zealand. Be sure to catch their show!

Dates:  Tue 22 – Sat 26 May, 8.45pm
Venue:  Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE®, Auckland City 
Tickets:  Adults $25 Conc. $20 Groups 10+ $20 
Bookings:  Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)
Show Duration:  1 hour 

Theatre , Comedy , Improv ,

1 hr

Energy, spontaneity, creative team-work …

Review by Sian Robertson 23rd May 2007

It was a patchy opening night for the Improv Bandits, which isn’t to say I’d turn down tickets to tomorrow night – these guys are a solid troupe with complementary talents and no weak players. And, yes, it’s the nature of the improvisational beast to be unpredictable.

A couple of things, though:

They needed to take the reins a bit more with audience interaction – a few bores in the audience ought to have been cut short with a bit more banditry, to keep the pace up. The hour went pretty fast, leaving me feeling I hadn’t quite gotten the full force of what these guys have to offer.

For most of the first half there was a tendency to turn everything into school-boyish sexual innuendo, which gets very boring as the gags are predictable a mile off and we’ve seen it all before. But it seems the Bandits started to find this tedious around the same time as I did and upped the ante by steering clear of the temptation to hump the other guy’s leg and turn almost every interaction into a one-dimensional pick-up line, instead finding humour in more unusual places.

The skit with the accents was by far the funniest, because it required quick responses and was executed with considerable skill, and we all like a good impersonation. But then a few members of the audience stopped behaving themselves and tried to out-yell each other. It was generally not a very sporting bunch for the opening night, but maybe my expectations of an audience are too high – they were probably just excited and, as I’m noticing more and more in comedy: the performers’ command of their audience is a big part of what makes a solid show.

I’d still recommend them wholeheartedly: the elements are all there, energy, spontaneity, creative team-work, remarkable on-the-spot song writing, an adaptable repertoire of entertaining characters, on-the-ball lighting technician ‘Kate’… The Improv Bandits have been around forever for a reason, and now they’re at the Herald Theatre, only till Saturday – take a gamble and have a gander.
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