13/10/2023 - 13/10/2023
Created by Chantal Lim (she/her), Victoria Mae Watson Sepejak (they/them)
Victoria and Chantal are two Canadian improvisers who will do anything BUT SLEEP! Fourth-wall breaking? Yes! Breaking out into dramatic monologues? With pleasure! Chugging Red Bull mid-show to battle mighty jet lag? YOU BET THEY WILL! For two years, this duo has explored a mixed bag of performing arts in Toronto while developing award-winning solo shows of their own. Now, they’ll combine clown, storytelling, improv and sweet sweet friendship to bring you a show that could only be described as a fever dream sleepover surprise.
13 Oct, 9.30pm, BATS Theatre
Chantal Lim (she/her)
Victoria Mae Watson Sepejak (they/them)
Improv , Theatre ,
Connection created with impressive level of comfort, cheekiness and authenticity
Review by Liz Talbot 16th Oct 2023
Canadian improvisers Chantal Lim and Victoria Watson-Sepejak have made their New Zealand Improv Festival debut with No Sleep, a late-night burst of improvised absurdity and jet-lagged delirium.
The show promised clown, storytelling, improv and sweet sweet friendship, which is promptly delivered by way entertaining and gleefully absurd vignettes inspired by their own stories and experiences, which are in turn inspired by the audience. The duo’s exploration of audience prompts is an entertaining back-and-forth that covers cross-cultural go-to snacks and the sharing of childhood sleepover memories.
The duo’s negotiation as to the ‘what next?’ plays out transparently before us – truly in alignment with the production’s fourth-wall breaking framework. Their transition into scene-work is fluid and whimsical. This is the kind of fluidity that can only manifest from performers who feel connected and supported by one another; who have found that any stage space that they occupy together is one that feels like home.
Ambitious improvisers seeking to inhabit a full fifty minutes of stage time can look to Chantal and Victoria’s work as a strong demonstration of how a duo can tease, satirise and playfully poke each other without fostering any tension. An audience can sense when a duo’s play is truly comfortable or iconoclastic to their relationship as performers.
This atmosphere of joy and friendship allows for any moments of oops to be leveraged into further laughter. It is an environment wherein they unreservedly respond to any and all vocal or physical inspiration from one another. Fluidity is their gift to the audience, and it manifests in engaging transitions between segments. Their flavour of modern clowning blends scenes into prompts into discussions into scenes into scenes.
If you, as an audience member, are seeking neatly defined scene work in an immersive world wherein you are an invisible spectator, this show is not designed for your taste. The audience are far from invisible – and therein lies the magic and warmth of No Sleep. Any stranger observing this show without any context could have easily believed Chantal and Victoria were performing for a large, private audience of their closest friends – for that is the level of comfort, cheekiness and authenticity that is brought to the many moments of connection between the duo and their delighted crowd.
Here’s hoping that Victoria and Chantal invite us all to their No Sleep sleepover again soon.
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