Improv Cage Match
22/02/2011 - 26/02/2011
2 Teams + 3 Rounds x 40 Minutes Each – No Rules = Improvised Hilarity!
Wellington’s best improv comedians go head to head with no rules and only a stopwatch to separate them!
Each night two teams of top improv comics clash to showcase their own styles of improvisation in a show that promises to be truly unpredictable.
Theatresports mixes with WWE RAW, music and satire sits alongside silliness, in a combustible brew that spills out of the ring and into the audience.
Be part of the action, fuel for the scenes, decide the overall winner and laugh till it hurts!
Proud to be part of the 2011 Fringe Festival
Circa Two, 1 Taranaki St, Wellington
22-26 February, 7.30pm
Bookings: 04 801 7992 or www.circa.co.nz
Review by James McKinnon 23rd Feb 2011
I have sampled a little of everything at the improv smorgasbord that is the Wellington Fringe this week, most recently the Improv Cage Match at Circa 2. I enjoyed all the entries, but Cage Match is in many ways the strongest of the three (the others being WITside Story and Battle of Wits), because it effectively combines the freedom and flexibility of short form improv with the sense of structure and suspense provided by the long format.
Cage Match features two teams per night – ad hoc, not recurring as in Battle of Wits – battling it out over three rounds. The teams can do whatever they wish in each round, but each has a total of 35 minutes to ‘spend’ over the course of their three turns (somewhat like speed chess). So if a team blows through 18 minutes in its first round, it will have to pick up the pace in the subsequent rounds.
On Tuesday evening, ‘Beard, Bearder and Beardest’ (no kidding – their beards have beards) got into exactly this sort of trouble early on, but came back with two strong scenes to steal the show from the ‘Nicholas Cage Fighters’, who suffered a meltdown of their own in Round Two when a scene about a closeted lesbian and a penguin hunter took a costly detour into the realm of tiger lilies. Karmic punishment, perhaps, for recycling a Simpsons joke? Well, easy come, easy go, as they say.
Wellington is clearly home to a host of improvisational talent, but Cage Match has a slight edge over the others because of its structure. WITside Story’s full-length(ish) musical has a potentially huge payoff, but it won’t work every night, and the long format forces the cast (and audience) to suffer to the bitter end even if there is no hope of success. Battle of WITS has lots of action and a new scene every two minutes or so, minimizing the effects of one that goes sour.
Cage Match has all the advantages of the latter, plus the 35 minute countdown creates a sense of rising tension and building stakes over the course of the show. Battle of WITS actually takes this a step further with its tournament format, in which the best teams advance to face each other in following weeks, but from a spectator’s point of view the tension that builds over the course of a single evening, as two teams battle each other and the clock simultaneously, is ultimately the most satisfying combination.
On any given night, one of these shows could be the best – and don’t get me wrong, they’re all good – but Cage Match’s winning formula gives it a slight edge.
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