18/11/2011 - 03/12/2011
Instant Kiwis get their stethoscopes on for a three weeks season of the hottest improvised medical soap opera you’ve ever seen. Witness live surgeries, steamy bedroom scenes, hot doctors, feisty nurses, sassy bar staff and ruthless CEOs as you help decide the twists & turns of each episode in the thrilling world of Grey Lynn Hope Hospital.
As part of ConArtists weekly Friday night improvised comedy show ‘Instant Kiwis’, the drama will all take place at Q Theatre’s intimate Loft space. “This is our chance to pay homage to the most prolific New Zealand television show of all time,” says Eli Matthewson, one of the show’s co-creators and winner of ‘Best Comedy’ at this years Auckland Fringe. “Think Shortland Street meets Grey’s Anatomy, but a late-night version.”
Each show the audience will give inspiration to the twists and the turns of the plot, which continues over the three week season, culminating in an exciting musical episode finale. The cast are in the hands of fate as the Instant Anatomy wheel is spun to find out which character has a brain tumour, an unexpected child or a sordid affair. Whether in the surgical theatre or having a drink at ‘The Drip’, these doctors and nurses are always up to something scandalous. ER, eat your heart out.
3 week season of an improvised medical Soap Opera
November 18th, 25th and December 2nd
Book at Q – www.qtheatre.co.nz
09 309 9771, 305 Queen Street, Auckland
Followed by the conclusion of our Instant Kiwis season of Improv Hilarity
December 9th – An Instant Kiwi Christmas – 11pm
December 16th – Enid Untold: Christmas Hols – 8pm
December 23rd – An Instant Kiwi Christmas – 8pm
Tune into www.conartists.co.nz for more programming details.
Comedy that Comes out at Night
“…it is clear that the ConArtists are the professional, seasoned variety of improv artists. They don’t miss a beat.” Theatreview, Sex, Lies and Improvise July 2010
“The space at The Drake was packed with very happy punters and more than half enjoyed themselves so much they went back for Sex, Lies and Improvise at 8:30” Bite Me: FangProv, Theatreview, May 2010
Dr. Rhet Hambleton: Chris Neels
Dr. Ashley Peat: Nikki Bennet
Nurse Glendine Rattray: Penny Ashton
Nurse Brianna Parker: Lizzie Tollemache
Brian Richardson: Dan Bain
Eli Powell: Scott Sinclair
Mitch Richardson: Eli Matthewson
Kendrah Swallows: Kathleen Burns
Connor Kross: Cole Jenkins
Stacey King: Laura Daniel
Tamati Goldstein: Hamish Parkinson
1hr, 3 Fridays only, @ 11pm
Glorious soap-opera cliché
Review by Nik Smythe 20th Nov 2011
ConArtists, those veterans of thigh-slappingly hilarious long-form improv concepts, are playing a three-week season of a steamy, scandal-ridden medical soap opera “so hot they won’t show it on television!” performed live on stage.
The blurb tells us that we are to decide the fate of each episode that plays out at Grey Lynn Hope Hospital, although it’s only at the start that we are called on to determine the vehicle (bus) and weather condition (windy) by which the randomly selected character (Hamish Parkinson as minority character Tamati Goldstein) has been rendered into a deep, deep coma.
Nevertheless, such small details established at the start, determine which character will pull a gun in hospital in the hour-long episode’s climactic scene (Penny Ashton as Charge Nurse Glendene Rattray), and set in motion a series of familiar, gloriously second-rate scenes of passion and intrigue, slander and gossip, squabbling and of course sex.
The hopes and aspirations of Grey Lynn Hope are to a large degree in the hands of Dan Bain as CEO Brian Richardson, an easily distracted, unnervingly infantile nutcase not a million miles from Blackadder 3’s Prince Regent or the IT Crowd’s irrepressible Doug Reynholm – only Kiwi, of course.
Meanwhile Nikki Bennet, as strung-out Head Surgeon and lesbian Ashley Peat, is suffering from burnout and the only one who seems to be aware of it is Charge Nurse Glendene. Confiding in tall, dark, kind of handsome, I suppose, Chris Neels as sagacious heartthrob Dr Rhett Hambleton, the case takes something of a twist as he realises the implications of Dr Peat’s possible dismissal, given he’s next in line.
Meanwhile at the local, Kathleen Burns as Bar Manager Kendrah Swallows has been seriously struggling since an untimely windy bus incident rendered her bar-help Tamati, apparently the only one available, indefinitely unconscious.
All in a day’s work for the outwardly genial scumbag Dr Hambleton, who proceeds to frame poor Nurse Glendene and persuade the woefully suggestible CEO Brian to hire Kendrah into the newly vacated position of Charge Nurse with the reasoning that attractive nurses are medically proven to be the best way for patients to recover from illness.
Meanwhile Laura Daniel, as fashionable, frisky front desk receptionist Stacey King, is dearly infatuated with Eli Matthewson’s Mitch Richardson, her devoted, randy boyfriend and the boss’s son. But, when he and Cole Jenkins as his best friend Orderly Konnor Cross plan to pull a heartless prank on Lizzie Tollemarche’s frumpy, fuggly, sweaty nurse Brianna Parker, she not only dumps him but also accepts Brianna’s heartfelt plea to give her a makeover to impress Connor when escorting him to the impending Hospital Social (and impressed he duly is; surprising given the subtextual suggestions re his sexuality).
Meanwhile, no-one seems to have an inkling where the comatose Tamati got a pistol from, or why it was on his person at the time of his accident. When it vanishes from its safe position in plain sight on the operating table, there’s a small amount of dutiful concern but everyone’s too caught up in the excitement of the social.
Then to the awe-stricken shock of all: out of left field, the last hard-working matriarchal figure whom anyone would’ve suspected in all the serial medical drama, ex-Charge Nurse Glendene Rattray gatecrashes the party with the gun, leveling it at her traitorous, backstabbing colleagues…
And, roll credits. Tune in next week …
The ethereal form of coma-victim Tamati floats through the stage to link each scene with snippets of bizarre, mystical rantings such as, “The wheels on the bus go round and round eh, just like people’s lives!” And accompanying all the action, anguish, anger and tears (resulting mainly in laughter from the keen late-night crowd), synth artiste extraordinaire Alika Downie supplies a perfect, prescriptively hokey running soundtrack to the histrionic events of this, “just another day … at Grey Lynn Hope!”
As with any improvisation show, much mirth is derived directly from the ingenious absurdity that occurs when constructing narrative on the fly. Being let in on the process as we are, we are delighted when connections and solutions actually work, entertained when they fall short and all the more amused when the cast cracks themselves or eachother up.
Thus is Instant Anatomy an effective belly-laugh inducing hour of madcap character-based shenanigans rooted firmly and unapologetically in the ham-and-cheese world of glorious soap-opera cliché.
And if my tell-all review has you yearning to know what happens next to this eclectic array of serial stereotypes we’ve come to love so much, get along next Friday and/or the Friday after to not only find out, but potentially take a hand in the manifest destiny of … Grey Lynn Hope!
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