Mild West DRAW!

BATS Theatre, The Random Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

15/10/2019 - 16/10/2019

NZ Improv Festival 2019

Production Details

The western frontier: a boiling pot of ambition and opportunity. But when such strong personalities and ideals clash, there’s only one possible outcome: a duel. 

Mild West: Draw! is an instant longform by Dunedin’s Improsaurus, where life hangs on the flip of a coin!

There is only one rule in Mild West: Draw. When two characters face off in a duel, who lives and who dies is decided by a coin toss. Playing with the idea of the protagonist/ antagonist in traditional storytelling, this forces the improvisers to really work their storytelling skills. A great longform feels like everything went as intended, but when any character can be killed off by chance, the improvisers have their work cut out of them!

Come along and join the drama. Choose your favourite characters, feel the tension, and watch in suspense as the coin flies through the air.

Improsaurus is Dunedin’s resident improv troupe, specialising in grounded, character-based longform. Each and every one of their fortnightly shows is a completely new format. With this, Improsaurus is constantly pushing the envelope of what improv can do.

BATS Theatre: The Random Stage
15 – 16 October 2019
at 6:30pm
Full Price $20
Concession Price $15
Group 6+ $15
Full Price Season Pass – 3 shows for $45
Concession Price Season Pass – 3 shows for $36

NZ Improv Festival

The Random Stage is fully wheelchair accessible; please contact the BATS Box Office by 4.30pm on the show day if you have accessibility requirements so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.  

Theatre , Improv ,

1 hr

Flawless execution

Review by Roslyn Hart 16th Oct 2019

As I enter the Random Stage at Bats Theatre, I see a cowboy character sitting centre stage. Slumped into this chair with his cowboy hat low on his brow, he is polishing a banana (gun). I like how this is setting the tone for the show.

The rest of the cast swagger in wearing cowboy attire with bananas (guns) tucked into their pants. Their body language and facial expressions are spot on.

Harrison (Malcom Morrison – director) in a southern accent introduces himself. He asks the audience for a word, “Cactus” is called. “Welcome to the town of Cactus, a town where we don’t like strangers,” he announces. Harrison asks for a volunteer in the audience to hold a coin for later. Nina, in the second row, agrees to be guardian of the coin.  

This longform show unfolds. I feel the scenes unravel in an organic way, each flowing well into the next, like scenes in a western movie.

The first scene starts with the Cactus Town Sheriff (Trubie Dylan Smith) having a conversation with Dorothy (Tara McEntee) who is in jail for shooting the Sheriff. Dorothy’s crime boss family, including her father Gregory (Vimal Patel), cause a lot of issues around town for the Sheriff. On the other side of town, Banker Sue (Dianne Pulham), the dodgy town banker, is giving money to Mr Clarence Arnold (Brendan Rose) who is arranging questionable antics at the neighbouring town of Tumbleweed.

Banker Sue warns Mr Arnold that Dorothy owes her money and she’ll lose a toe if she doesn’t pay. Mr Arnold and Dorothy are ‘seeing’ each other. Dorothy confronts Banker Sue and they start to duel. Our first duel of the night! Who is going to win? Nina tosses the coin. We feel the anticipation. Dorothy picks tails. Both characters draw their bananas (guns). The coin lands on tails, Dorothy shoots and Banker Sue dies. Dorothy now takes on the town banker role.

Now that Dorothy has more power, she has an altercation with the Sherriff and he ends up in jail. Dorothy wishes to get married to Mr Arnold, so he can make an honest woman of her. However, the only person in the town that can marry them is the Sherriff who is currently behind bars. The Sherriff questions whether Mr Arnold loves her and he (Mr A) lets slip that he is already engaged to the daughter of the Sheriff in Tumbleweed – oh the scandal!

More hilarious scenes unfold. Mr Arnold is shot in the knee by the Sherriff of Tumbleweed when he discovers Mr Arnold is engaged to Dorothy. Dorothy’s adoptee and hilariously absent-minded brother Issac (Sam Irwin) tries to thread a needle to sew up Mr Arnold’s knee and ends up poking himself in the eye.

Two more coin toss duels follow: the Cactus Sherriff against Gregory (the Sherriff wins) and the Tumbleweed Sherriff against Mr Clarence (the Tumbleweed Sherriff wins). I like the effect of the coin toss deciding who will win or die. This brings higher stakes to the story.

The story concludes with Mr Tumbleweed’s daughter (Dianne) marrying Dorothy.

This is possibly my favourite show at the NZIF so far. I enjoy the characters, the storyline, flawless execution of the theme and the comedic value. I feel like a lot of research and attention to detail has been put into this show. This is a strong cast. Every character speaks with a typical cowboy accent and uses words/ sentences that you would associate with a western movie. I also notice that the musician playing guitar also plays the harmonica and whistles during scenes. The lighting in the scenes is also spot on and matches the intensity of the story. Excellent show. 


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