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

18/09/2013 - 18/09/2013

NZ Improv Festival 2013

Production Details

Joe is a cop, and good at his job. In almost twenty years on the force, he’s put away hundreds of criminals and received a dozen medals and commendations from the city. But two weeks from retirement, Joe is pulled into one last case: a case that seems to reach all the way to the very highest levels of the department. And if that wasn’t enough, his new partner’s a…

A what?

Each night, the audience will select a new partner for Joe at random. Will it be a zombie? A monkey? A robot? A ninja? A leprechaun? Each partner brings its own special abilities, knowledge, connections, and problems. Hilarious problems.

LOOSE CANNONS: a buddy cop show with a twist, exploring a world of crime that could explode unpredictably at any moment. Directed by Derek Flores and Matt Powell, LOOSE CANNONS is fast paced, playful, comedic storytelling at its best.

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 email book@bats.co.nz to see all three shows in one night for $36!

Date(s) – 18/09/2013
9:30 pm – 10:30 pm

55 mins

All the crab puns you could want

Review by Lucy O'Connor 19th Sep 2013

The lights haven’t even dimmed and already the audience is in the zone for improvisation; high fives, dancing in the aisles, bursting laughter… The Loose Cannons performers will no doubt be pleased backstage. 

It begins, of course, with drama. The partner of a cop, Joe (Matt Powell), dies in a shoot-out and Joe leaves the force out of grief. We find him again, 6 months on, talking to a therapist about returning to the force. She is reluctant and asks Joe to tell her what he sees in a series of pictures. The audience step in as Joe’s psyche and interpret what they see in the abstract blobs. Little do we know, these offers will create the bones of the show.

In the Chief’s office, Joe is desperate to return to work and with his therapist’s signature in hand is offered a new partner. Enter blob interpretation 1: A ‘funny crab’, Snappy (Jarred Skelton). He sidles in, literally sideways, donning a clichéd clown nose. Funny crab alright! Snappy is endearingly keen to be accepted but Joe is uncertain and reluctantly takes him on in order to satisfy his need to work on the force. 

It follows that the town is in trouble with some sort of ‘bustier’ mystery. A kung-fu toad (someone’s blob epiphany) is terrorizing the town and has broken someone’s ‘love seat’. It is up to Joe and Snappy to sort all of this out.

I absolutely love the first few scenes where the set up is obviously planned but not word-for-word. This is where the cast truly comes into their own with wit and flair. Unfortunately, the middle feels lost and the characters eventually have no choice but to comment that they have little idea what is going on and pull it back around (to the relief of the audience for fear it was headed for disaster).

There are long silences often followed with overtly loud swearing or cheap sexual innuendo.

The end is clever; Jeff Clark does well to say yes, and eventually take responsibility for clearing up the huge crime mystery that remains. Emma Cusdin makes a brilliant Chief. I would have loved for her to be a bit ballsier in her other roles. Jarred Skelton has a moment of brilliance in a sumo wrestle and does well to remain in crab character with believable crab implications no matter the scene. Matt Powell as Joe is a great constant presence for the audience to follow.

Overall, the beginning and end are hilarious, energetic and clever. The reincorporation throughout is fantastic allowing the audience to keep up as best they can. The opening set up sees some admirable presence of mind with the cast moving forward at just the right points and I’d have liked to see that same awareness throughout the show.

Special mention needs to go to the keyboard player, Kris Finnerty, who manages to somehow keep up with the chaos and set each bizarre scene with suitable sound.

It is emotional, it is funny, there is love and it has all the crab puns you could want. Fewer silences, more ‘saying yes’ and a more contained story line and it would have been fantastic. But neither the audience nor the cast know what’s going ensue – and isn’t that the beauty and the bane of this particular art? 


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