IMPROV for KIDS!
30/09/2014 - 11/10/2014
Kids love theatre that’s interactive. So do The Improvisors. A match made in heaven!
For the last school holidays of the year come along to Circa for a show that lets kids get involved in live theatre in a way that only an Improvisor show can. Their suggestions, sound effects, even props and costumes = their show!
Comedy for kids that takes them beyond toilet humour and into the magic their own imagination. Every show is unique – crafted for children who are there, so whether your child is in to fairy pirates or break-dancing unicorns; we can make it happen.
This is a show where you can have a giggle alongside your kids, with loads of opportunities to shout out, dance, wriggle and move and be part of the action this is pure, school holiday fun.
AGES: perfect for 4 – 12 years old
RUNNING TIME: 45 – 55 mins
“Genuine Family Entertainment” – Capital Times
29 Sept – 11 Oct, 11AM (no show Sunday)
Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki Street, Wellington CBD
BOOKINGS: 04 801 7992 / http://www.circa.co.nz/site/Shows/Improv-for-Kids
TICKETS: $10 (each) / Groups 20+ $8 (each)
Review by John Smythe 29th Sep 2014
The state of early childhood education and parenting must be very healthy indeed if the first audience for the Improv for Kids school holiday season is anything to go by. Their eagerness to offer ideas and participate inventively on stage with a clear understanding of what’s required is delightfully reassuring.
The Improvisors team throughout the season is Kenny King, Ian Harcourt, Pete Doile and Cath Hardy and the inaugural host / MC is Kenny. “We are the world’s laziest actors,” he tells the duly amused youngsters. “We can’t be bothered with scripts and rehearsals; we just make it up as we go along.” Later he adds, “You call out the stuff we use, so if we’re rubbish, it’s your fault.” More laughter.
Because it will never happen the same way again, I can tell you what’s happened this morning by way of giving you a sense of how it all works.
After some practice shouting out – in which one young chap’s answer to who he would most like to spend his holidays with is “God” – the show proper kicks off with ‘Story, Story, Die!’ The asked-for activity, offered by a girl, is “Laser Force” and a boy gives his name to complete the title: ‘George’s Laser Force Story’.
Told in sequence by whichever player Kenny happens to point to, the story must make sense and be told without hesitation – otherwise the audience cry of “Die!” with eliminate the failing player. The kids love it – and Ian wins.
“If money was not a limitation, where would you like to go for an adventure?” gets young Petra answering “America” and “Disneyland”, so she gets to participate in the ‘Pop Up Story Book’ version of ‘Petra Goes to Disneyland’. She and the players lie down and every time Ian turns a page they strike a random pose which he, as storyteller, interprets and develops. Clever!
For the ‘Alphabet Game’ – where each player in turn must pick up the simultaneously acted-out story with a word beginning with the next letter of the alphabet, whenever Kenny signals for us to call it out – the ask for a parent’s occupation produces “Floor sanding”. It turns out the job’s being done in preparation for the imminent arrival of John Key!
Twenty children join the four players to bring ‘A Tour Through The Museum’ to life. Asking the audience for areas of expertise sees Ian become an expert in the Aztec culture, Pete display his Pottery Collection and Kenny specialise in Colossal Ducks. Cath uses her i-phone to play dancing music and when she calls “Freeze!” the resulting poses become the stimuli for each expert to explain the details of their display.
Having validated a boy’s pose as “Here we have an Aztec-turned-zombie,” the players cope well with his persistent insistence on invading the rest of the game in that role. Otherwise the kids are splendidly responsive to – and inventive with – the game.
More children manipulate the players-as-puppets to tell part of a well-known fairy story – in this case the ball scene from Cinderella – and the finale is ’60 Second Fairy Story’ where Sleeping Beauty is improvised in one minute, 30 seconds, 10 seconds, 5 seconds and finally 1 second.
All up it has been a highly successful 50 minute show. My only question is whether The Improvisors’ habitual attempt to get kids to stop putting their hands up and just shout out (“You not at school now – you’re on holiday!”) is productive, given they always put their hands up anyway. When the audience is as large and enthusiastic as this morning’s, each simultaneously shouted offer is lost in a wall of noise, so a player has to go and ask a child privately – which robs us of the pleasure of hearing a child make the offer the players then act upon.
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