BATS Theatre, The Heyday Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

27/10/2018 - 27/10/2018

NZ Improv Festival 2018

Production Details

A good-natured improv show in the style of The Castle, Off the Map is set in a fictional kiwi town, and shows the interlinked lives of the curious characters that live there. This special return performance brings together the original NZIF 2009 cast’s Court Jesters (past and present): Brendon Bennetts, Emma Cusdin, Eli Matthewson, and Daniel Pengelly.

Director Brendon Bennetts (NZ) has been teaching and directing improv for the Court Jesters since 2002. He hosts comedy quiz podcast THE NERD DEGREE, teaches high school English, and in his spare time writes plays. Brendon is proud to have performed at NZIF every year since it started.

The Court Jesters are a Christchurch based improv group that have been performing their signature show Scared Scriptless since 1990.

The Heyday Dome at BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington 
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Tix $14-20 – Book Now! 

Theatre , Improv ,

1 hr

Humour and pathos in Musty Sand Dunes

Review by Margaret Austin 28th Oct 2018

Alumni of the Christchurch improvisation troupe The Court Jesters are reunited under the enviable direction of Brendon Bennetts. The six first performed together ten years ago and are choosing the same concept this time round: life in a fictional small NZ town.

There’s nothing that engages an audience faster than asking for suggestions and these are quick to come. We’re to be transported to a place called Musty Sand Dunes, and we’re introduced to a bunch of the inhabitants who relate to us what it means to them to live there.

Musty Sand Dunes used to sport a Tea Cosy Emporium, but that’s become a Women’s Centre, to the dismay of a young man returning from a failed escape to Hamilton. In vain, he protests that he’s been practising his knitting but his mother, having sloughed his father, is off to do some tie dyeing in the bathroom.

There’s a nautical exhibition with an indifferent guide, an old fogey who complains that someone has used his meeting gavel as a steak pounder, a delightful take on the vape industry and best of all a sexy man calendar to pose for.

It’s all tied together by an announcement of a pregnancy and although “Who’s the father?” is not a question we pose immediately, it develops with all the intrigue of character revelation and suspense.

We get pathos as well as humour, a truly touching husband and wife scene, a reference to the ‘offers”’ on which improvisation depends in the question “Could you be more direct?” and even a denouement. 

Players have an hour to fill, and their challenge is to create not just characters but a plot. It probably never ceases to amaze them, to say nothing of the audience, that this is somehow achieved. 

But then that’s the magic of improvisation. No wonder Brendon and his band are still at it. 


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