BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

19/09/2013 - 19/09/2013

NZ Improv Festival 2013

Production Details

The experience of creating a story should be like going on an adventure; like stepping into a dark cave. PlayShop’s Into the Dark Cave will transform BATS Theatre into the boundless landscapes we built as children, where a few chairs and a sheet would turn into castles and space-stations. The audience will be invited to join the improvisers on a stage strewn with mattresses, pillows and blankets.

There, under the warm glow of household lamps (and marshmallows, for sustenance), the stories shared by improvisers and audience alike will leap to life as live-action, shadow-play and puppetry. As well as the usual ensemble of fearless actors, Into the Dark Cave will feature a full host of acoustic musicians, scenographers and props-builders, all helping to spontaneously create daring stories.

To delve into the Dark Cave is to let go your imagination. Come join PlayShop as your guides. The journey will be harrowing, beautiful, and joyful.

With 17 shows in 5 days, the New Zealand Improv Festival is bound to tickle your tastebuds.
Book your tickets now at BATS Theatre (Out of Site)
($18 / $14)
or see all three shows in one night for $36!

Date(s) – 19/09/2013
9:30 pm – 10:30 pm

Jonathan Price
Callum Devlin
Rose Cann
Jed Davies
Crystalyne Willis (Designer)

Wildly unfamiliar stories

Review by Charlotte Simmonds 20th Sep 2013

I hear a whispered rumour, on walking in, of this being the first Improv Festival show to sell out, and you know that jokes are always funnier when other people are laughing, and the more people are in an audience, the more people will laugh, and indeed, the more we all do. 

The idea of children’s sleepover is perfectly captured with sheets and blankets and pyjama-clad cast members. Mum comes in and tells everyone to get down and be quiet, we can sing one song together and then we have to go to sleep, and she’s got work in the morning, and if she has to get up again in the night she’s going to be “f—ing ropeable,” at which we all titter furiously before trying our best to hush.

I am expecting the mother to be waiting outside the door listening, like one awful mother from my childhood, ready to pounce on the show the minute something starts up, but she fails to reappear. 

There’s usually a ringleader at sleepovers, one who instigates the hijinks while the others, meekly afraid of parental wrath, need to be more forcefully coerced, and there’s always one kid who just tells really boring stories that are so much crapper than everyone else’s, but in this instance, I can’t locate either the ringleader or the boring kid.

I also don’t recognise any of the cast – Jonathan Price, Callum Devlin, Rose Cann and Jed Davies – from previous PlayShop productions. It seems they have either a high turn-over or simply a troupe so large it takes about five shows to rotate everyone.

Either way, this is good and unpredictable: each PlayShop show I’ve seen has been dramatically different in style and mood from the rest although, of course, as with any improv show, the changing audience plays a significant role here too, particularly when they’re called upon to lend the cast items from their pockets, as this audience is.

While the stories themselves are new and wildly unfamiliar – particularly memorable is poor John/George who lives on a slanting world, and the Jurassic Park massacre (Big Phillip of the Triassic being due to re-emerge for a pun in the late show as a sneaky bonus for those who see both) – the style of narration is extremely familiar; the kind, having no children, that I have not heard for many years.

A new touch is the overhead projector, which is necessary to sustain interest and keep momentum when the story-telling flags, but would have been slightly out of place at an actual sleep-over. As a way of conveying games using pen and paper however, it is perfect.


Jed Davies September 20th, 2013

Hi! Thanks for the review. Callum and I were in the Riddiford Street show you reviewed :)

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