14/10/2011 - 14/10/2011
“They make improv look so easy you’ll think you could get up and give it a go.” Theatreview on ConArtists’Austen Found: The Undiscovered Musicals of Jane Austen
Improv laughs return to Queen Street courtesy of ConArtists’ twisted literary classics, games, live reality TV and generally making funny s**t up.Instant Kiwis provides you with the Friday night funnies every week until Christmas.
Brought to you by the cream of Auckland’s improvising talents, from old hands to young bloods to famous graduates, everyone will have you hitting the laughs jackpot.
Members of ConArtists have entertained audiences all over the world as well as in New Zealand, from winning international improv tournaments in Canada, to representing NZ at the World Cup of Theatresports in Germany. With appearances in The Almighty Johnsons,GlossandThe Lord of the Ringsunder their belts, these multi-nominated talents know how to get your juices flowing.
Watch as each team slowly votes off one player per round until the ultimate Improv Survivor is crowned. A show the audience loves but the players loathe. Laugh as they squirm during the eliminations and then you get to vote for the winner on the night. There can be only one.
Friday Oct 14 2011
Show time: 10pm
Running Time: 1 hour 20 mins
Ticket price: $15
Proudly supported by:First Scene Costume Hire
Produced by: ConArtists
Directors: Penny Ashton, Chris Neels, Eli Matthewson, Lori Dungey
MC: Penny Ashton
Special Guests: Jeremy Elwood, Mark Wright, Mark Ferguson and Antonia Prebble
Cast: Various ensemble including Penny Ashton, Lori Dungey, Chris Neels, Eli Matthewson, Scott Sinclair, Geoff Dolan, Clare Kelso, Moody Hikmet, Allan Roberts, Nikki Bennett, Nigel Burrows, Paul Paice, Kathleen Burns, Dan Bain, Hamish Parkinson, Lizzie Tollemarche, Laura Daniel, Cole Jenkins and Madeleine Lynch
Cut-throat fight for survival
Review by Sian Robertson 15th Oct 2011
Instant Kiwis is the new improvisational theatre night from ConArtists, at the Q Loft on Queen Street, every Friday night* until Christmas, with a different theme each week.
They opened last night with Improv Survivor: stranded in the Q Loft with nothing but their wit and talent as survival tools, two teams of four actors battle it out. The audience votes for the best team at the end of each round, the losing team has to eliminate one of its members by anonymous pipe-cleaner vote. I vote for a return of Improv Survivor – there’s that much more at stake, keeping everyone on their toes, and if someone lags behind – off with their head!
The teams get to choose which theatresports ‘games’ they play in each round, such as puppets, a-word-at-a-time, genre rollercoaster, emotional poetry, with host Penny Ashton throwing in extra stumbling blocks such as ‘freeze’ (where another team member has to step in and take another’s place and change the direction of the story), time change (she has them jumping backwards and forwards in time within the storyline), and another where the actor has to ‘rewrite’ his or her last line, to name a few. And of course, the audience get to throw in suggestions that shape the action.
Host Penny Ashton is the perfect tribal council arbiter, her boundless sass and brutal-but-fair umpirage remind me of a cross between a lion tamer and an 18th century brothel madam.
I find improv can go either way, sometimes sliding into tired cliché if the players are not on form. It’s a risky business for audience and performers alike. This is my first experience of a ConArtists production and I wasn’t disappointed, in fact, I think I might be hooked.
Not that there weren’t moments when the narrative failed to fly, but in general the energetic performers knew to when to nip an idea in the bud and move on, which I think is the key to good improv.
This first instalment of Instant Kiwis starred Jeremy Elwood, who was a highlight of the evening and came close to being Sole Survivor, displaying lightning-fast reflexes and inventive wit. The other (unfamiliar to me but equally talented) actors were also of a high calibre and worked hard to prove their mettle (including some excellent singing voices) in this cut-throat fight for survival.
There’s a nice bar downstairs to get you warmed up before the show in the new, nicely laid-out Q Loft. If you are a fan of improv, be sure to catch Instant Kiwis in this ongoing season.
Next up from Instant Kiwis is Austen Found: Zombie Time (the undiscovered musicals of Jane Austen… with zombies) on October 21st; followed in the coming weeks by various themes including: ‘Sex, Lies and Improvise’, ‘Director’s Cut’ and the musical medical soap opera ‘Instant Anatomy’.
*Times vary, check Q theatre or conartists.co.nz for details.
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer