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

19/10/2017 - 19/10/2017

Production Details

The small stories born in the place where people come and go in busy Tokyo.

Located outside Shibuya Station in Tokyo, 500,000 people walk by Shibuya Scramble Crossing in a day, 3,000 people come and go in one green traffic light. This omnibus of scenes imagines the lives of the people who meet, work or walk by one of the largest pedestrian crossings in the world.

Shibuya Scramble Crossing is one of NZIF’s World Premieres: five brand new experimental works devised by top directors and participants especially for this festival. Across the week every cast, crew, and production will come together in unique combinations, creating spontaneous comedy and theatre every single night. With these incredible improvisors and directors from all around New Zealand (and the world!), you’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime treat every time.

BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington
Thursday, October 19, 2017

Theatre , Improv ,

1 hr

Physicality creates vibrant environments

Review by Patrick Davies 24th Oct 2017

[Apology: this review was sent last Friday 20th October and got lost in cyberspace over the long weekend.]

The rough and tumble of the ubiquitous Tokyo pedestrian crossing that we have all seen separates a long-form show of scenes in and around Tokyo. Like the prior show Mothers, it is more a rhapsody than a linked narrative, though some scenes make a welcome call back.

I very much appreciate that this show doesn’t require intimate knowledge of Tokyo from its audience (and performers) and so connects us with the simple things every large city and small-town share while giving us a unique flavour.

There is an emphasis on physicalising the locations and cross overs which fill out the back emptiness that can sometimes haunt the Propeller stage. This feature creates vibrant environments that allow further stories to emerge later, or other characters to be added and dropped as the scene progresses.

I have to say some scenes do outstay their welcome, but that is part and parcel of improv – you never know till it’s over. For me the more physical offers tend to bring out the better stories than the talking heads do. This format certainly exposes scenes that aren’t connected to their environment in that our attention wanders to the rich and myriad cross overs.

I can’t discern the use of the ‘scramble crossing’ (where, cued by sound, the performers revert to the comings and goings of various people over the crossing), as a narrative device for the format. But it does refresh the improvisers in that they quickly create characters and drop them. It is great to see which, if you can catch them, ‘crossing characters’ return to be used.

Because I lean towards physicality in improv this is, for me, a great show and a gold mine for improvisers that encourages their richer use of environments. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council