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

15/10/2019 - 16/10/2019

NZ Improv Festival 2019

Production Details

Regrets – we’ve all had a few. From leaving a job, to joining a flat, to swiping left/right, all of us have something we can look back on and think “what if?” 

In this show the improvisers of Best on Tap explore what regrets can do to us, the places they can take us and the lessons they can teach us. The audience will be asked “what’s your greatest regret?” and their offers will be used to inspire short and long scenes, stories and monologues that will dig into the layers of real human regrets.

Best on Tap uses truth-based play to create compelling and satisfying narratives that honour the audience’s experiences.

BATS Theatre: The Random Stage
15 – 16 October 2019
at 8:30pm
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

Well-structured scenarios reward our investments

Review by John Smythe 17th Oct 2019

Regrets, we’ve had a few
We jot them down of scraps of paper
‘Ask fors’ they’re called, mine’s in the stew
Will it be plucked or turn to vapour?

Good to go and looking fit
Best on Tap come out to play
They’ll be inspired by what we’ve writ
And do it their way!

While I respect the values in other improv formats, I have to say I find those primarily based on audience ‘ask fors’ especially engaging for the audience – and Best On Tap’s Clare Kerrison, Kate Whitaker, Geoff Simmons, Mary Little, Wiremu Tuhiwai and Barry Miskimmin certainly deliver on the inherent promise. Importantly (compared with Unlocked) scenes that establish characters, relationship and storylines are returned to and developed through several iterations.

Having each picked an “I should have …” regret, the team plays out a series of scenes inspired by them. They try to take better care of their bodies (Kate is super-keen), or not (Mary has better things to do). Wiremu keeps trying to get a drink but Barry won’t buy his Disney Land pass or (later) his Muppets Fan Club membership card: Wiremu should have brought his ID. The latter does, however, inspire a Kermit-esque song Bret McKenzie would be proud of.  

Kate and Clare, as Madeleine and Geraldine (or vice versa), play out the wonderfully romantic scenes that might have happened had one replied to the other’s lonely hearts ad. Building through engagement to marriage, the initial claim of ‘perfection’ becomes tempered with reality which leaves us reassured they have a future.

A Mother (Mary) waits hand-to-mouth on Wiremu’s ever-grateful consumer of her fare. Barry and Clare are honeymooners on a South Otago wine trail, discovering they may not be as compatible as they’d assumed.

Kate challenges Mary over whether she spoke up (she should have) in the work place; Mary discovers the value of being tall (standing on a chair) instead of being belittled by Geoff and Wiremu’s mansplaining – leading to a scene where she rises to chair of the board and solves her ‘should have’ with ‘the talking stick’. Meanwhile Geoff, who should have changed his undies, and Clare (who should have slept with her boyfriend on the first date) explore the awkwardness of their first time.  

Brief snapshots of other randomly-picked ‘should haves’ feed into an inspired birthday sequence where Wiremu, as the 21st birthday boy, has to put up with a succession of guests telling him what he should do, based on their own regrets, which puts him in danger of missing out on a romantic assignation in the car park.

The scenarios that evolve through more than one stage become well-structured and are adeptly resolved. Thus we are rewarded for the investments we have made in them. For me this is a highly satisfactory form of improv.

As for my regret? It’s remained unpicked. I’m glad. I mean what if people had realised it was mine! Of course no-one does know who offered what, which is part of the intrigue.


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