KIDS Comic Heroes

Circa Two, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

15/07/2013 - 27/07/2013

Production Details

With all the super powers you’ve come to expect from the world of Marvel and DC (Ok, maybe only one or two that we could afford to license, and a bunch of slightly second tier ones we got from trademe!) – The Improvisors will be blasting onto stage and telling a new story these School Holidays full of dashing superheroes, saving the world from the dastardly villains you know and hate (Ok, maybe you haven’t heard of Professor Nose Goblin of Dr Sloth, but you’re sure to hate them, or whoever turns up on the day).

With a revolving cast and with ideas and inspiration gathered from the audience we will deftly create a very kiwi kids take on those modern legends of storytelling. 

In KIDS Comic Heroes you pick powers, you decide what threatens the world and we’ll bring it all together in a show that puts the punch back into punch line! 

Come along to Circa 2 July School Holidays to check out the creative and interactive fun. 

15-27 July
11am and 1pm Mon – Fri,
11am only Sat, no show Sun
Circa Theatre – 1 Taranaki Street (next to Te Papa)
BOOK: 04 801 7992 or
TICKETS: $10 each / Groups 20+ $8 each

IMPROVISORS (3 per show)
Ian Harcourt
Jennifer O'Sullivan
Jared Kirkwood
Kenny King
Neenah Dekkers-Reihana
Kieran Charnock

Musician: TBA

Lights: Uther Dean

Fun with audience help

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 17th Jul 2013

At the start of Kids’ Comic Heroes an elephant appeared without any warning from the imagination of a member of the audience and was then briefly brought to life by an improviser.

Kids Comic Heroes was performed by Ian Harcourt, Jared Kirkwood and Jennifer O’Sullivan at the first performance of the season. Other improvisers will perform at other sessions. The three kept things moving along as they developed a storyline largely provided by the audience which, has to be said, was not easy.

The nasty Dr Dust changes every vacuum cleaner in Wellington so it blows and not sucks dust when every child cleans his or her bedroom. Various super heroes were drawn from the audience and given their moment on stage with a token costume. Dr. Dust aided by an evil laugh taught by an uninhibited young man is eventually defeated by a super hero.

I can only guess what might develop when you see the show, but one thing is certain for the loudest moments in the show, as it was for The 3 Billy Goats Gruff, will be “He’s behind you!”


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All good

Review by John Smythe 15th Jul 2013

I had a few misgivings when the adult version of this format premiered a month and a half ago (reviewed here) but in this 45 minute manifestation for children the audience is fully enrolled, all their offers are pretty well accepted, the participation factor is essential to advancing the action and the satisfaction level is therefore high.

In a very low key, gentle way, Ian Harcourt introduces the Tuesday morning audience to the concept and gleans offers for a super power, something the kids like to do after school and something they get told to do. Grape-throwing gets side-lined in favour of computer games as the superpower, and going top your room and cleaning it with a vacuum cleaner becomes the tiresome chore.

Jennifer O’Sullivan is the wannabe super hero du jour and calls herself Super Mario Girl in honour of her prowess at computer games – and she becomes much spunkier than the fey blonde princesses you find if you Google Super Mario Girl Characters.  

More offers from the youngsters provoke a flashback whereby she first discovers her powers, when she needs to save an elephant – Jared Kirkwood – who had become trapped in a supermarket freezer: a splendid example of instant creation, straight after the offers are in.

Having done a turn as Jen’s moustachioed Mother, Harcourt reappears as the obligatory evil villain – in this case, Dr Dust! Personally I find his playing his scariness down so much to be a bit patronising towards the kids but it does allow a delighted child to be appointed his evil laugh coach.  

Kirkwood plays the naïve side-kick, Brian, and has the chops to assert himself sufficiently to avoid the trap of Dr Dust over-controlling the evolving plot (always a danger with a master-servant relationship in improv). Their evil plan turns out to be making all the vacuum cleaners blow instead of suck – and we in the audience become the component parts of the machine that will do the trick.  

Super Mario Girl’s first attempt to thwart their plan is (intentionally) weak, so mini-heroes are called up to offer advice. She embraces “just never be scared” and “surprise them with a sneak attack” but the suggestion that she should take the screen off the computer and extract all the component parts and use them to foil the dastardly plan doesn’t quite make it into the subsequent action.  

What does play out incorporates most of what has been set up by offers, with Kirkwood adding the device of radio news to indicate what is happening in the wider world.  

There is even a moral – which will tag all shows, I expect – whereby the evil villain sees the error of his ways and vows to use his powers for good.

All good.


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