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

21/05/2019 - 25/05/2019

NZ International Comedy Festival 2019

Production Details

A totally improvised soap opera about fitting in, standing out, finding ourselves and following our dreams.

“Impressively epic improv” – Theatreview

“You’ve got talent. Now let’s see what we can do with it.”

It’s 1982 and we’re gonna live forever, but first we have to go through the blood, sweat and tears of Khandallah Academy of Performing Arts. A totally improvised soap opera about fitting in, standing out, finding ourselves and following our dreams.

From the creators of Deep Space Naenae, Lyall Baywatch, and Mirror Miramar comes a brand new serial – follow the ongoing story nightly or dip your toes in for just one episode!

Warning: May contain leg warmers and sudden dance breaks.

BATS Theatre The Random Stage
21 – 25 May 2019
Full Price $20
Concession Price $15
Cheap Wednesday $15
Group 6+ $14 

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.  

Christine Brooks – Peppermint Sparkle
Matt Hutton – Quane Lively
Sam Irwin – Albatross Adams
Liam Kelly – Jack Traddles
Jennifer O'Sullivan – Sheryl Farmers
Matt Powell – Rudolf Channing
Dianne Pulham – Amelia Love
Tara McEntee – Jasmine Cholmondley the Third
Wiremu Tuhiwai – Chad Mikaere Michaels
with live direction from
Clare Kerrison – Tatum Channing
Luke Rimmelzwaan – Dr Bruce Rizzleswizzle
with support from
Lyndon Hood – Audi Charade

Lighting operated by Darryn Woods 

Theatre , Improv ,

1 hr

A sound foundation is laid

Review by John Smythe 22nd May 2019

I grew up in Khandallah (a suburb of Wellington in the north-western hills) but left before its Academy of Performing Arts opened. In fact this is the first I’ve heard of it. Now Kickin’ Rad Productions’ Soap Factory is recreating its year of 1982 through a “totally improvised soap opera about fitting in, standing out, finding ourselves and following our dreams.”

Olivia Newton-John is the triple-threat icon the female students aspire to. “If Australians can do it, we can!” conscientious Sheryl Farmers (Jennifer O’Sullivan) tells her very rich and slacker best friend Jasmine Cholmondley the Third (Tara McEntee).

Overseeing the dance classes is the Academy’s director, Tatum Channing (Clare Kerrison), whose son Rudolph Baryshnikov Fontaine Channing, aka Rudi (Matt Powell) leads them. And a credible bunch of aspirants they turn out to be.

Peppermint Sparkle (Christine Brooks), who once toured NZ with the Buzzy Bee club, sees herself as more experienced than the rest and has a lot to learn – not least from deeply sensitive acting tutor Dr Bruce Rizzleswizzle (Luke Rimmelzwaan).

Country boy Quane Lively (Matt Hutton) may or may not be wise to trust in Albatross Adams (Sam Irwin) for advice – e.g. wear lipstick to class to make sure you stand out – and it turns out Alby is no so much interested in performing as in helping out (or supplanting?) the Academy’s Mr Fixit, Chad Mikaere Michaels (Wiremu Tuhiwai).

Meanwhile energetic Amelia Love (Dianne Pulham) compulsively expresses herself in dance while Jack Traddles (Liam Kelly) does sterling work on the keyboard (which could have less volume when singing is happening, given improvised lyrics need our close attention).

In this challenging environment the need for friends becomes the abiding theme, provoking a stirring song and dance number. Director Kerrison puts the players on their mettle by making them cut from the initial idea of a song ’n’ dance sequence to presenting it fully formed. And Darryn Woods, on lights, is ruthless in not allowing a scene to outstay its welcome.

Overall, a bit like an early rehearsal, Episode One of So You Think You Khandallah evolves with attentive players being rather tentative as they accept directives and each other’s offers in the process of establishing their characters’ back-stories, wants, needs and relationships. Stepping up to full-on showbiz schizzle will doubtless be achieved as the episodes play out.

Meanwhile they are all very accomplished improvisers and a sound foundation is laid – speaking of which, who is suddenly pregnant? This is the cliff-hanger designed to bring audiences back tomorrow – and each night for the rest of this week.  

Episode updates are posted on so you can swot up before you go. 


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