Saturday Night Divas

BATS Theatre, Wellington

10/05/2007 - 12/05/2007

Production Details


The foxy ladies of improv comedy are back in "Saturday Night Divas" – three funkadelic nights of stories, songs and scenes made up on the spot.  As part of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, BATS theatre will play host to the Improv Divas as they shed their daggy daytime cardigans and reveal the dazzling divas within.

"If you’ve ever wondered about the synergistic power of improv and smooth disco tunes, now is your chance to see the magic in action", explains Improv Diva Christine Brooks. "Oh, and there may also be sparkly costumes. Yes, sparkly."

Saturday Night Divas is another initiative from New Zealand’s first all-female improv act, the Improv Divas, the people responsible for the successful ‘LovePossibly’ in the 2005 Comedy Festival, in association with the Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT). WIT previously won the Best Comedy Award (New Zealand Fringe Festival 2003) and is Wellington’s only community-based improvisation troupe.

So what are you waiting for? Get your groove on at BATS Theatre and see the Improv Divas in action! Can you dig it?

Dates:  Thur 10 – Sat 12 May, 9.30pm
Venue:  BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington City
Tickets:  Adults $15 Conc. $12 Groups 10+ $12
Bookings:  BATS 04 802 4175
Show Duration:  1 hour

50 mins

Low risk, amiable improv

Review by John Smythe 11th May 2007

First, they play Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Saturday Night Divas is simply the name the ‘Improv Divas’ wing of the Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT) have chosen to give to this year’s show. (Last year’s was called Love Possibly.)

Don’t be misled in to thinking it might be an operatic dirty-dancing challenge to Improv the Musical. It is simply a very basic ‘colour-by-numbers’ evening of theatresport games played out by Christine Brooks, Janet Humphris, Jen Mason and Kate Zabriski-Todd.

‘Interview’ is supposed to reveal how something works. On opening night we suggested a vacuum cleaner and were treated to multiple variations on what it might be used for. Did it matter that the ‘how it works’ aspect was forgotten? Probably not.

Do-run-run (electric guitarist Matt Mann) riffs on an audience off about what someone wanted to be when they grew up. We got a bus driver: competent but some poor rhyming and no ‘referring back’ to build it to a satisfactory conclusion.

Scattered scraps of paper containing lines of dialogue – mostly pop song titles or line, it turns out – are used to steer the course of a sequence precipitated by a randomly offered occupation (sailor). A scene that must conclude with the words "I love you" is set in a place where you wouldn’t normally expect to find love (England was our audience suggestion).

‘A special object’ kicks off a team story, which I think would work better if each participant broke off in mid sentence. Even so, the jack-in-the-box tale we were treated to achieved a pleasing poignancy.

‘Something you would do on holiday’ sets up a scene that is them played out according to ‘Emotions’ randomly called out by a player. The water skiing offer they went with revealed this groups rudimentary skills when it comes to mime. ‘A famous couple from history’ is played out with a combination of dialogue and stage directions, offered by one player to the other.

A ‘dating show’ interview format is used for an endowment scenario where one player, who has gone out and come back (policed by an audience member) is required to deduce from the hits her partner and interviewer offer where they met, what the special gift was s/he gave her and what s/he loves about her most (Bungy Rocket / Koala bear / nose hair).

‘A small object that can talk’ produced better mime when a tiny red-caped bull, voiced from offstage, was found on a footpath in Spain. ‘Song / sonnet / sermon’ requires that an idea is played out by three while the fourth tells them which device to employ. Given an iceberg breaking apart, I have to acknowledge "The Penguin Bible" was an inspired idea.

With so much competition in improv shows now, the stakes are high and our expectations have risen with them I suspect. I can’t help thinking more elements in each came – 3 at least – would generate more complexity, more risk and more entertainment value.

But if you want a relatively laid back night of amiable improv, the Divas will do it for you.
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