BATS Theatre, The Propeller Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

09/10/2015 - 09/10/2015

NZ Improv Festival 2015

Production Details

Involving even less preparation than a usual improvised show, everything about this performance will be devised and decided only the day before at Improsaurus’s workshop on original formatting.

Combining the great minds of NZIF attendees and Improsaurus’s vast experience in long-form, it’s bound to be an interesting and challenging format!

BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington
Friday 9 October
$18 Full / $14 Concession / $13 Groups 6+ /
Two show pass: $30 Full / $25 Concession
Book online at bats.co.nz

Jerome Cousins – MC
Marea Colombo
Sam Irwin
Dianne Pulham
Rik Brown
Steve Wilson
Katherine Weaver

Lighting – Mary Little 
Musician – Armand Gerbault-Gaylor 

Theatre , Improv ,

1 hr

Creative chaos

Review by Shannon Friday 10th Oct 2015

[Insert Show Here] is created out of a workshop conducted approximately 48 hours before the show opened.  It was cast within a day and then up it goes.  It is an incredibly generous idea: make fast, share, do it together.  It’s also a huge challenge to bring together improvisers from different places, and a testament to their skills that the show mostly works and is pretty entertaining.  

The workshopped format for the night is a Rick and Morty parody named Slick and Shorty.  Slick (Katherine Weaver) is a selfish, mean, alcoholic mad scientist with a soft spot for his cousin Shorty (Steve Wilson) who only comes out after the danger is over.  Shorty is the naïve ingénue and somewhat ineffectual conscience of the show. 

Slick and Shorty tear their way from alien planet to alien planet, causing chaos and destruction in order to solve what is for them a minor inconvenience, but because they are such vacuous wastes of human skin, they rarely get to celebrate their success and are instead foiled by an overlooked detail in all the chaos they’ve made.

It’s a clever compromise between the demands of short and long-form improv, and means that members of the newly-formed team can each play to their strengths.  Each change of location means there is a new set of stakes, and new characters for the improv team to riff on.  It is all anchored by Slick and Shorty, and their solid relationship and reactions to anchor the show as the story gets bigger, weirder and more confusing. 

The improvisers all seem pretty clear on their roles in the drama, from Sam Irwin’s villain to Diane Pulham and Marea Colombo’s ever-changing supporting characters and Rik Brown’s helpful future-self problem solver. 

However, there is some tentativeness across the group about making strong first offers, for example Diane Pulham’s offer late in the show of a generically “not human” physicality. When Wilson clarifies her offer to an alien horse, she shifts immediately but with a show that is so sprawling, it is incumbent upon everyone to signpost just enough to keep things unravelling to their furthest point.  I sense the group’s newness working against the format slightly in moments like this.

In addition, early ask-fors establish the convention that the audience picks a defining feature for each location, but late in the show new places are created without ask-fors and I find it confusing, not knowing where we are spatially and in the plot.  Though it is clear that the show rises to a crescendo of confusion before bringing it back to the main pair. 

And the moment between Slick and Shorty is gorgeous, beautifully supported by Amand Gerbault-Gaylor’s synthy and evocative music.  I wish it were allowed to play slightly longer, as we get the first sense of why Slick cares for Shorty, when Weaver says, “Why do you think you’re the only person I bring on these adventures?”  It is the first moment I really care about Slick in any meaningful way.  The scene is over a little too soon in favour of wrapping up more external plot and I wonder if that’s a structural thing. In the next iteration, this scene might do better later in the show.


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