PLAYSHOP LIVE: The Dome Edition

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

09/10/2015 - 09/10/2015

NZ Improv Festival 2015

Production Details

Fast and loose theatre from nothing! LIVE is PlayShop’s flagship show, late-night improvised comedy without limits: fast, physical, and unpredictable. A team of skilled actors and a musician create spontaneous theatre with nothing but each other, the audience, and their fiendish imaginations.

Don’t bother coming prepared (we haven’t), grab a drink and jump into the abyss. For one night only we welcome visiting improvisors to our stage as part of the festivities.

BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington 
Friday 9 October
$18 Full / $14 Concession / $13 Groups 6+ /
Two show pass: $30 Full / $25 Concession
Book online at 

Theatre , Improv ,

1 hr

Trust, support and willingness to call each other out pays dividends

Review by Shannon Friday 10th Oct 2015

What I love about watching PlayShop is how smart they are at setting up both transparent challenges for each other and clever supporting structures for themselves as they tackle them.  And so it is with the Dome Edition of PlayShop Live!

The evening is some pretty standard short-form improv games, MCd by Jonathan Price.  Each of PlayShop’s four improvisers – Rosie Cann, Matt Powell, Sam Irwin and Johnny Paul – has brought along a guest improviser to share the stage: Malcolm Morrison, Nell Guy, Brendon Bennetts and Katherine Weaver.

Early games tend to pair up a PlayShop member and their guest, such as an early date-night game.  It’s a clever way to include lots of guest improvisers without losing support; everyone onstage has at least one other person that they play well with on stage with them. 

The night’s highlight is a mash-up game where Cann and Guy are young sisters at a seaside playground while Paul and Bennetts are shield-makers.  Somehow the disparate pairs must come together to reach a resolution.  It’s a great set of challenges: both pairs have tight given circumstances to work with and the strong contrast means we as an audience are kept wondering how this will work out until the very end.  When the men try to sell the shield to the young girls, it’s a perfect fit and wonderful. 

Other games fall flatter, usually when the game leaves the narrative structure open.  However, one of the joys of short-form is that things that aren’t working can be easily discarded; failure is always an option.  There are times when the desire to get the easy laugh comes at the expense of the scene, though the players themselves are good about calling out the habit.

The trust, support and willingness to call each other out pays dividends in terms of invention.  Towards the end of the night, a sketch about feuding nations plotting war ends with one of the most physically committed improvs I’ve seen so far, as a group works together to shoot a human cannonball across the stage. 


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