The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

10/02/2012 - 03/03/2012

Production Details


SCARED SCRIPTLESS is back – back to late nights and back at The Court Theatre. From February 10th Christchurch’s iconic improvised comedy show will be performed at the new Court Theatre in Addington, with shows at 10:15pm every Friday and Saturday night.

First staged at The Court Theatre in 1990, SCARED SCRIPTLESS is New Zealand’s longest-running improvised comedy show. Following the 2011 February 22 earthquake (and subsequent closure of the Arts Centre), The Court Jesters have performed SCARED SCRIPTLESS at several locations: from a marquee at the University of Canterbury car park to the Heaton Intermediate theatre. The Jesters are excited about resuming performances at The Court’s new theatre. “While it was great to hire seven other sites between March and December, there’s truly no place like home,” says Court Jesters Manager Kirsty Gillespie.

Artistic Director of The Court Theatre, Ross Gumbley, is proud that the Jesters “led the charge” to resume regular entertainment for the people ofChristchurch, and “after a year in the wilderness, Scriptless is finally back where it belongs.” 

Gillespie hails the new Court Theatre as “a wonderful, purpose-built space to perform in – plus we’ll be able to accommodate even more people who appreciate the thrill and skill of improvised theatre. The added bonus in returning to a late-night time slot is that if the content gets a bit naughty at times then we don’t need to censor in the same way that we would at 8pm.”

For the opening weekend, “card ninja” and former Court Jester Javier Jarquin (currently in Christchurch as part of the Buskers’ Festival) will be performing in both Friday and Saturday’s shows. Jarquin is “honoured” to be returning to the show that launched his comedy career and being a part of the first Scriptless performances at the new Court Theatre.

As part of the homecoming celebrations, all tickets to SCARED SCRIPTLESS are $12 for the month of February.


When:  Every Friday and Saturday at 10:15pm from 10 February to 3 March 2012

Where:  The Court Theatre – Bernard St, Addington (off Hagley Park end of Lincoln Rd)

Ticket Costs:  All tickets $12 in February; regular ticket prices (March onwards) $16 adults and $14 students (with ID). Groups of 10+ $14.

Bookings:  Ph 963 0870 | Web | Door sales available 

Fri & Sat only

In fine form amid unruly audience

Review by Erin Harrington 11th Feb 2012

Improvised comedy show Scared Scriptless is now in its 21st year, making it the longest running improvised comedy show in the country, and it is indicative of the Court Jesters’ ongoing success and popularity that the audience for their first show in the Court Theatre’s new Addington premises was their biggest ever. Since the earthquake a year ago the Court Jesters have been performing their weekly show in a variety of spaces, notably atHeatonIntermediateSchool and the Open Stage atHagleyCommunity College, so it was heartening to see the performers receive such an enthusiastic ‘welcome home’.

MC Dan Bain commanded the stage and the action with aplomb. PlayersJeff Clark, Vanessa Wells, Brendon Bennetts and special guest Javier ‘Card Ninja’ Jarquin, with the musical support of Michael Bell, were in fine form. While many of the games were fairly straightforward – to “ease us back in”, explained Bain – the highlight was a peculiar and hilarious scene involving a young man (Bennetts) bringing a date (Wells) home to his tiny one room flat, in which his creepy, taciturn and immobile grandfather (Jarquin) is ensconced. It was an odd but simple premise and demonstrated that while the Jesters are adept comedians, they are also excellent storytellers.

I have been attending Scriptless since perhaps 1997 and the most arresting thing about the show for me was the way in which the relationship between the performers and the audience has shifted.  Although there is only a difference of approximately 100 seats between the old Court One and the new auditorium at the Shed, the latter is a much more expansive, less intimate and less forgiving space. This led to a few problems with audibility and clarity, and some physical and vocal subtleties were unfortunately lost.

The audience was also quite unruly. Perhaps it was because there was a very distinct feeling of the performance being a celebratory event, or perhaps it was because there was a greater divide between the players and the audience, but from my spot two thirds of the way up the main bank of seats I often found it hard to hear the performers over the people around me who were chatting, joking, and commenting on the scenes playing out on the stage.

Nonetheless, the performance was certainly of the calibre we’ve come to expect from the Court Jesters and I look forward to seeing how both performers and audience adapt to their new home.   


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