BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

01/04/2022 - 02/04/2022

Production Details

Improvised by Ginge & Minge
Directed by Austin Harrison

Toxic masculinity has never looked this hot. 

Bring your Speights and your mates for this blimmin’ banger of a show. Jez & Jace will take you on a journey through the highs and lows of a white bogan’s life in this improvised comedy/drama.

What happens when you really put your bros before your hoes? #nohomo

Jez & Jace first debuted as BROsplained in July 2021, competing in Late Night Knife Fight and became an instant audience favourite. They then headlined for Late Night Knife Fight in September with a 30 minute performance. This iteration of Jez & Jace is fresh, flirty and dirty, and just as hard hitting as before.

Ginge & Minge shed light on the realities of being queer in regional Aoteroa and suggest that homophobia is still harming and shaming youth back into the closet.

“I saw them perform the show as headliners in late night knife fight in September and their performance was hilarious, touching, and brilliant character improvisation.” – Jennifer O’Sullivan

BATS Theatre, The Dome
Friday 1 & Saturday 2 April 2022
8pm (live) or Stream
Full  $18
Concession  $14
Group 6+  $15
The Difference  $40
Pay What You Can 
Stream  $5 / $10 / $15 / $20 / $25 / $40 

The Livestream will be Live each night.
Livestream tickets are pay what you can. 

Theatre , Comedy ,

1 hr

Resonant, refreshing, joyous

Review by Emma Maguire 08th Apr 2022

It’s a little strange for me to call a show like Jez&Jace‘wholesome’ but that’s the vibe I’m getting from the work as I watch via livestream (courtesy of BATS Theatre).  

Born out of a LateNightKnifeFight win, Jez (Nina Hogg) and Jace (Megan Connolly) are quintessential Kiwi rural blokes, decked out fully in paint-stained gears. They have a disdain for craft beer and a love for NowThat’sWhatICallMusic42, and Jez drives a Honda Odyssey with special blue headlights.

This show is an elaborate critique of Kiwi masculinity, and it’s also completely improvised. From the moment the doors open Jez and Jace are there, riffing with the audience, rambling about their lives – and it’s all very impressive to watch and wholeheartedly realistic.  

Both performers, whilst maintaining the self-aware nature of the show, truly settle themselves within their roles. Speaking as someone from a small NZ town, I could easily walk down the street and find two guys who are these characters – and it is delightful to watch.

There’s a lot of heart in this performance, behind the levels of excellent comedy and generalised chaos. In this show, Jace has just found out that he’s going to be a father with his hook-up Amy-Amethyst, and really doesn’t know what he’s going to do. After some generalised hijinks – Jace says at one point, “After two weeks, babies are self-cleaning,” – Jez leads him into an epic Dad Training Montage, where Jace mostly learns how to throw rugby balls to his new son carefully.

One thing I do question is the use of simultaneous audience monologue pieces. These are scattered throughout the show in moments of emotional tension, where Jez and Jace each talk at the same time to their sides of the audience, but they didn’t really work for me. There’s a good idea there regarding externalising internal thoughts, but the simultaneous aspect is chaotic and not in a good way. 

I find the performance most resonant in its quieter moments. While I do actively laugh out loud in my office (where I’m watching the livestream) across the duration of the show, there is something so genuinely honest and lovely to see these two characters, and by extension, their two actors, replace the classic Kiwi masc vibe of, “this is my mate, we’re just going to have a beer and ignore our emotional problems” with, “this is my mate who I kinda love, we’re going to have a beer and actively care about each other,” – even though it’s still through this RUGBY FARMING LADS AHHHH lens.  It’s very refreshing, and particularly joyous to see Kiwi queerness staged like this.

Both Megan and Nina are fantastic performers with a lot of delight in their roles and I love seeing them both shine on stage in this show. I’d like to make a mention of their director Austin Harrison too, whose work I always make time for. Expanding a ten-minute Knife Fight piece into a 50 minute show is no mean feat, and improv is so often guided by a well-hewn external eye. All three creatives are incredibly good at what they do and I’m very excited to see what they make next.

BATS Theatre provided the livestream of this work. Livestreams/recorded shows are a ton of technical work, so kudos to the BATS team for providing an important accessibility tool. I’d love to see this more often in the future!


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Rarely a moment the audience isn’t in stitches

Review by Wesley Hollis 02nd Apr 2022

If you’re looking for a show that will engage you and surprise you with something new every night, then JEZ & JACE from Ginge & Minge Productions, performed at BATS Theatre, is just the thing. This wonderful night of improv comedy focuses on the friendship of two typical Kiwi blokes, Jez (Nina Hogg) and Jace (Megan Connolly), in an adventure where banter and bicuriosity abound. Not only is this show available to watch live, but there is also a livestream so you can watch along at home.

The show starts the second the audience walks through the door, with Jez and Jace joking around with each other and warming the audience up with a few questions. With booming voices, stubbies, boots, a paint stained fleece and a bit of fake stubble, it’s immediately clear that we’re dealing with some rough-and-tumble kind of lads. However their banter is light hearted and their conversation with the audience respectful and engaging.

The stage is set up in a way that gives it a rural small town vibe – the show is set in Featherston – with two hay bales centre stage and lots of manly props, like a drill and some fishing rods, hanging from the ceiling. The hay bales are a simple but versatile piece of set that are moved around during the show to help to create different settings. Basic lighting and sound help to set the scene as well, whether that be on the farm or in a nightclub.

Toxic masculinity is a clear theme throughout the show. We see Jez and Jace comfortable with manly interactions, like slapping each other on the back or doing keg stands, but uncomfortable with moments of affection and opportunities to reveal their true feelings. Among the many moments of good humour there are elements of romance, explorations of sexuality, and the sense of sadness one gets when they feel they may be losing a friend.

While the show seems to end on a cliff hanger with many unanswered questions, there’s still the feeling that in the end each character has grown as a person and worked through some of their own personal issues. 

The audience is an important part of the performance, and are called on many times to share an anecdote or contribute a suggestion. As someone who is not so comfortable with audience interaction, I am glad that I am not called on to share, though anybody watching this show should come prepared for the possibility.

At times Jez and Jace split up and each take a different side of the stage and ask the audience for advice and help with working through their inner turmoil. While an interesting idea, this is a part of the show I do not enjoy as much, especially as someone seated in the middle. I find it difficult to concentrate on what either side is saying, and don’t like the idea that I am missing out on part of the show if I am only engaged with one side.

One of the challenges with improvised shows is keeping up a good energy throughout, which Nina Hogg and Megan Connolly both manage to do like masters. There are some moments where the story does not seem to be moving forward so quickly, but these are brief and before long they take us in a new direction or deliver us a new line so golden that it’s hard to believe it wasn’t planned in advance. There is rarely a moment throughout that the audience isn’t in stitches.

The worst part of the show by far is the fact that it has to end – but there is some good news on that front. Every night there is fresh, improvised material and a new story to be found. What will Jez and Jace get up to next? I’m dying to find out. 


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