THE GREATEST SHOW

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

26/10/2018 - 26/10/2018

NZ Improv Festival 2018

Production Details



This is the GREATest show! Inspired by the film, this musical will pull back the curtains of the Big Top and introduce you to the people who live in that world. Song and dance, action and emotion, and hopefully a compelling narrative (a clear improvement on the source material).

Combining 30 years of performance and teaching experience, directors Wiremu Tuhiwai and Amanda Buckley met at NZIF 2017. Their nerdy love of musicals and their mutual desire to make The Greatest Showman a better film has led them to this point. Join them!

Amanda Buckley (Melbourne) has been performing for nearly 20 years for theatre, corporate and festival audiences both in Australia and overseas; including the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Sydney Comedy Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Adelaide and Melbourne Fringe Festivals and the UCB Del Close Marathon (NY). 

Wiremu Tuhiwai (Wellington) has learned and lived a lot of improvisation over his past decade here in the capital. He has also performed with other local musical and theatre companies as he loves the stage too much to not try new things but his best mate is improv and hopes to continue to grow and develop his long friendship with the Wellington and international improvisation world.

The Random Stage at BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington
Friday, October 26, 2018
9:30pm
Tix $14-20 – Book Now!

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Theatre , Improv ,


1 hr

Missing the frisson of risk

Review by Margaret Austin 27th Oct 2018

I am greeted by the noise and jostle of an expectant early Halloween crowd in BATS’ foyer just before The Greatest Show, one of Firday night’s offerings in the NZ Improv Festival.

On the recently re-named Random stage, I find that the dress, mood and activity of the twenty or so milling participants emanate a similar air of chaotic but promising unpredictability.

They are a crowd of circus folk, and directors Wiremu Tuhiwai (Wellington) and Amanda Buckley (Melbourne) offer as their improvisational situation that these performers are being told that after ten years in their beloved profession, tonight will be their last show. 

Cue characters, predetermined by their costumes. We have two dashingly dressed ringmasters, a man and a woman, who invite us to “pull back the curtain – to what? We don’t know.”

And nor do we, the audience. We are not asked for anything, we’ve written nothing down to be pulled from a hat, so we have no idea what’s being made up on the spot. But hey, it’s the Improv Festival so of course we have to trust that what follows is spontaneous.

Their opening song, ‘Roll Up’, signals the major strong point of this musical show: the exceptional voice projection and enunciation of some cleverly apt words. This quality provokes frequent gusts of laughter from the packed house.

The second delight takes the form of the personalities and stories as presented by the dozen or so circus performers who get the chance to tell us how they came to the profession and what it means to them. A female fire eater, a dancer with a Southern accent and a character called Mysterioso are highlights. 

There’s a keyboard player, a guitarist and a drummer as well, and their rapport with the performers is a further pleasure. Lighting and technical effects enhance a performance that gives rise to a bit of nostalgia as well as a gently humorous reminder that society’s misfits could make a profession out of their differences. Any takers? 

I do miss the frisson of risk, however; of knowing they’re building from audience ‘ask fors’ and creatively challenging each other with offers. 

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