Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

15/02/2013 - 17/02/2013

NZ Fringe Festival 2013

Production Details

Join Dunedin’s favourite improvisation troupe Improsaurus in The Green Room – an improvised comedy where improvisers improvise improvisers.

The innovative and metatheatrical show is improv like you’ve never seen it before!

15-17 February, 9.30pm
Gryphon Theatre 
Bookings: $15/$12

Lots of potential in the format

Review by Hannah Smith 16th Feb 2013

The Green Room is improv for improvisers.  The format is dizzyingly meta: improvisers improvising improvisers in an improv competition. We see the scenes performed as part of the show, and also scenes set behind-the-scenes, behind closed doors, in the green room.

Dunedin-based group Improsaurus specialize in developing original long form improv shows. This show concept is ambitious and certainly original, but unfortunately on their opening night it didn’t really come off. 

The players kick off with some ask-fors to give them background on the kind of improvisers they are, and then they get the ball rolling. The show has a very simple structure: a scene form each team in the Green Room and then a scene from each team on the stage; repeat.

This could be a really interesting provocation to improvisation, especially for an audience familiar with improv and theatresports style games. There is room for players to set up challenges and scenarios in the green room scenes, and then play these out under the ‘competition’ scenes.  Also the audience can have the gags and instant gratification of Theatresports game style improv (via the competition), while enjoying the satisfaction of watching improvisers develop a more complex and meaningful story arc through their green room characters.

A lot of potential there, but tricky material to work with, and last night the balance didn’t really work.  The show got bogged down with too many similar scenes with similar length and pace.  Due to the nature of the format there were a lot of similar characters (improvisers improvising improvisers) and we didn’t see that much variety in the competition scenes, which was where there was more opportunity to push away from talking heads.

Caitlin McNaughton makes some efforts to play the broader game of the show, suggesting that her partner try to touch her as much as possible in the next scene, but apart from this the wide possibilities of the format seem to be lost. Trubie Dylan-Smith has the most hilarious line of the night – “I love you emotionally, definitely.” – which has the audience chuckling off and on for the rest of the scene. 

Musical accompaniment, from Chris Finnerty, is great, and really keeps up the energy and offers a change of mood to scenes.

Improv is always a gamble – for performers and audience – and last night’s show fell short.  But there is a lot of potential in the format, given some refinement, and plenty of room for improvement.  Tonight it might be a bag of firecrackers, so check it out.


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