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

18/04/2016 - 29/04/2016

Production Details

Kids love theatre that’s interactive. So do The Improvisors.  

Kids (and their grown-ups) loved the 2015 season of Improv For Kids, so we’re bringing it back for these school holidays.

What a great introduction to the world of live theatre. We don’t have millions of dollars worth of computer-generated effects, but we listen and make the kids’ ideas central to what happens on stage.

It’s funny, at times chaotic but, in Improv for Kids, imagination is the best special effect of them all. 

“It is reassuring and even inspiring to see that kids awash with technological entertainment can join in so creatively in a format that guarantees fun for everyone, including the adults they bring along.” – John Smythe, Theatreview 

April 18 – 29th April  
11.00am daily
(no Shows Sunday or Anzac Day)
Click here for Bookings or Call 801 7992 
Group Discounts available  

Theatre , Family , Children’s ,

55 mins

Impressive flow of creativity

Review by Jo Hodgson 19th Apr 2016

As a performer who likes to be fully rehearsed before stepping out in front of the audience, I have to admit I get rather freaked out when I’m asked to do improvisation.

The format – different from the Improvisors shows I’ve seen in the past – is a bit more like a really fun and fast paced ‘how to improvise’ interactive workshop game session and I watch with great admiration, as these three fearless improv specialists (Pete Doile, Jimmy O’Donovan and Deana Elvins) settle in to play, with a muso (Cam Crawford) creating sound effects, mood and background music.

The performers get the audience revved up from the outset with “Cheer for us like we’re rock stars!” and we do with a rousing cacophony of sound that would boost anyone’s confidence while also helping us to relax too.

They then prepare the audience – a good mix of young and old – as to what is going to happen and how we are integral to making the show work: “Without you, we got nuffin’,” they tell us.

A quick audience warm up of a group-inspired scene with alien and moon sound effects and some zero gravity moves gets the ball rolling and we’re off on a hilarious romp through a clever selection of improv games.

The Improvisors survey the audience for suggestions – “just call them out, it’s not school” – and some fantastical and unlikely stories are then brought to life.

Everything from sequenced storytelling with an audience member directing who continues the story, and the young audience relishing yelling “Die!” if a performer fumbles; to storytelling using each letter of the alphabet to continue the story.

The human puppets are extremely comical as the performers pretend to play out a game of rugby while trying to instruct their young puppeteers through their dialogue of how they need to be moving. A scene about going swimming while they balance books on their heads is equally hilarious and a talkback show introducing a collection of very interesting and exotic animals really catches the imagination of my three and five year old children – especially the hybrid ‘Snunicorn’ (A unicorn crossed with a rattle snake!).

The really neat thing about improv is it exemplifies the value of saying “Yes”, to the suggestions given by the audience and to your fellow performer. There is no time for criticism or judgement, one just needs to open one’s imagination and allow it to flow without fear of it being right or wrong.

This is also beautifully embraced by the kids from the audience who jump up to participate at the many different opportunities. Particularly fantastic is when they are asked to be the props, set and costumes for a retelling of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. A swarm of kids head to the stage and leap into action, being a meadow of grass, flowers, the bridge, the horns and tail of the goat, remarkable clothing on the troll, trout in the stream and gargoyle stone-guards. 

I am impressed by the willingness and creativity flowing off the stage and also the way the adults encourage, support and include the young contributors whether they are brave enough to be on the stage or giving creative ideas from their seats.

It is a joy to see adults and children having fun and imaginative play time, leaving their inhibitions behind and laughing and playing together.

These performers are doing a wonderful service for us all by sharing their talents and their skill in this genre but also modelling for these young people and all of us how comfortable they are in their own skin and trusting who they are, without the need for elaborate make up, costumes or set to entertain us. 

Asked what his favourite part was, my three year-old says “The silliest bit,” which transpires to be the story of when Daniel goes to London – which was actually Finland but hey its improv so the story has already morphed and anything goes. I guess the message got through loud and clear. 


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