Wellington Performing Arts Centre, Wellington

12/02/2010 - 13/02/2010

NZ Fringe Festival 2010

Production Details


Wellington Performing Arts Centre, 12-13 February 2010

For 30 hours in early February, performers from Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT) will take on the ultimate comedy-endurance challenge.The performers will spend 30 hours on stage non stop providing 30 different one hour shows. Improvathon is the ideal way to kick off the Fringe Festival 2010, with a feast of improvised comedy.

Alongside the WIT performers going the full distance will be teenage performers from Wellington schools and other top class improvisers from all over New Zealand – Christchurch’s Court Jesters and Auckland’s Improv Bandits. They will be performing a huge variety of improv formats, some tried and tested and some completely new. Information on the schedule is available from WIT’s website. The Improvathon pass costs only $30, meaning bargain hunting audience members can get their full of improv for $1 per hour.

WIT Co-Creative Director, Geoff Simmons, says this is the ultimate performance challenge. "It’s a chance to go beyond your comfort zone and into unexplored territory. After that amount of time on stage all your barriers start to come down, and things can go to some pretty interesting places. You can start to explore the dark, dusty corners of your psyche. This makes for some amazing improv, and you learn a little bit about yourself at the same time."

This is the second time WIT has performed an Improvathon, the first being in 2007, which raised over $2000 for World Vision. This incarnation of Improvathon will kickstart WIT’s fundraising for its own theatre. "It is time Wellington lived up to the name ‘Creative Capital’ and had a permanent home for comedy and creativity" says WIT Co-ordinator Paul Sullivan.

For up to ten audience members, WIT are going further by offering them the opportunity to join the 30 hour challenge. Those audience members will be offered full refunds if they can go the full 30 hours themselves. "Normally we get offended if people fall asleep in our shows," says WIT Co-Creative Director Christine Brooks, "but this time we kinda understand."

Starring WIT regulars from improvised soap The Young and the Witless, Simon Smith, Anton van Helden, Paul Sullivan, Christine Brooks and others, Improvathon is a must see.

Performance dates and times:
Friday 12 February at 6pm until Saturday 13 February @ midnight

$30 for a 30 hour pass

Individual show tickets $10/8/5 with cash on the door only (if seats available)

Bookings at Downstage in person, or 04 8016946

30 hrs

Dip your wick into this event

Review by Maryanne Cathro 13th Feb 2010

How the heck am I supposed to review an Improvathon? It’s thirty hours of improv in one hour shows, each with its on theme. I took in the 11pm show on the first night. It is Adults Only hour, yikes!

As a performer, improvisation terrifies me. I LIKE scripts. They are nice and safe, assuming I remember my lines which these days is a big ask. So I am already in awe of the brave souls who are willing to take it on. To go at it for hours at a time – amazing. When I get there the cellist providing incidental music had been ‘celling’ (he assures us this is the correct verb) for five hours, and clocks up a sixth before handing over.

The hour is indeed adults only, in fact so much so that there ought to be an upper age limit as well, since what a bunch of 20 and 30 somethings consider ‘adult’ can go over the head of a 40 or 50 something. There are plenty of laughs though – a man showing his lurve for a toy rabbit; a meeting of Fake Orgasmers Anonymous (in particular the member whose every line was delivered as if he was faking it!) and Jen Mason’s cougar, terrifying an incompetent burglar with her seduction technique (I just had to name Jen because on the WIT website she admits to being an ex Hutt girl and I’m into solidarity of the sisterhood, and also because she’s bloody hilarious!)

I see in the programme that the Court Jesters from Christchurch and Auckland’s Campfire Improv are joining in the fracas today (Saturday). Heaven help us all.

I do hope that you all dip your wick into this event some time before it closes at midnight. And do take some cash to buy some of the delicious Valentine’s biscuits for sale in the foyer: a fund raiser worth supporting.
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