The Improvisors in Politics – The Musical

Circa Two, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

17/05/2011 - 21/05/2011

NZ International Comedy Festival 2011

Production Details

Friends, Romans, Countrymen – lend me your ears!

Politics and improvisation – the two great arts of making things up as you go along – come together set to music in one show especially created for this election year.

The Machiavellian twists and turns of politics combine with the mental agility of improvisation and sheer stupidity of attempting a complete musical to give you a show more internationally hilarious than Question Time!

Vote with your feet! Get to Circa for a show that ticks all the right boxes!
“Brilliant! Shakespeare would be so very, very proud!” –, Shakespeare the Musical

Proud to be part of the 2011 Comedy Festival  

Dates: 17 – 21 May, 7.30pm 
Venue: Circa Two, 1 Taranaki St, Wellington
Tickets: Adults $18 / Conc. $15 / Groups 10+ $15 / School Groups 10+ $10
Bookings: 04 801 7992 or 


Light-hearted fare feels genuinely fresh

Review by Helen Sims 20th May 2011

After seeing Politics: The Musical you start to wonder how much of what comes out of politicians’ mouths could just be made up on the spot – not to mention be put to song. The Budget would surely be more amusing if it was put to a hip hop beat. 

Although the show eventually degenerates into farce, it’s disturbing how much of the show seems entirely plausible.  It’s also excellent material in front of a Wellington crowd, a good proportion of whom are bound to be current or former public servants.

After asking the audience for offers of political events and things that could go wrong (on the night I went a by-election and a shady trust were accepted), the dice was rolled to determine the political flavour of the evening.  Colours mark the parties on New Zealand’s political spectrum – who of course cannot be named for legal reasons, but it’s fairly obvious. 

We get black, and so a tale of the resurrection of a political career, based on the mass deportation of immigrants (and homosexuals… and intellectuals … and …), fervently supported by the inhabitants of a retirement village and funded by the ‘Elitist Brethren’ is spun.  Opposing aspirations of the partly nefarious and partly confused hirsute leader of the ‘Black Party’ and his singing golden Mastercard is a young 2nd generation Chinese-Kiwi, who has hope to unite us all.  

I’ve always thought making up songs on the spot would be one of the hardest forms of improvisation, and this bears true in Politics: The Musical. Some songs soar and get loud applause, other peter out somewhat unsuccessfully. Always excellent, however, is the musical accompaniment provided by both live musicians (Robbie Ellis and Tane Upjohn-Beatson)

The burden of carrying songs (and scenes) is carried somewhat unevenly, and Greg Ellis and Ralph McCubbin-Howell had the edge on coming up with material that was both tuneful and informed by current political events.  It was great to see experienced practitioners and newcomers share the stage.

This is enjoyable, light-hearted fare, which feels genuinely ‘fresh’. The Improvisors produce improvised theatre shows of reliable quality and they do not falter with Politics: The Musical.
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