The Newlyweds DOUBLE DATE

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

17/10/2019 - 19/10/2019

NZ Improv Festival 2019

Production Details

“Stankiewicz is an absolute natural… Controlled and flawless in her style” – Stage Whispers

The Newlyweds are a two-prov team made up of real-life married couple Eleanor Stankiewicz and Marcel Blanch-de Wilt. Each night at NZIF, they’re inviting another team to enjoy a double-date with them. Just like a double-date, ice will be broken, laughs will be had and by the end everyone will be best friends (hopefully.)

The Newlyweds, new to NZIF, are interested in meeting new people and finding contrasting and complementing styles to their own. Marcel comes from stand-up while Eleanor comes from an acting background, both disciplines bringing dynamic characteristics to the party. The Newlyweds have performed in Sydney and Chicago, and are looking forward to making their NZ debut. They have studied at the home of longform improv, iO with the legendary Charna Halpern and performed as guests at the iconic Second City.

“Marcel’s comedy took up the whole stage with flare and cheeky mischief that had the audience barely able to catch their breath before the next laugh.” – Newcastle Mirage

BATS Theatre: The Random Stage
17 – 19 October
at 6:30pm
Full Price $20
Concession Price $15
Group 6+ $15
Full Price Season Pass – 3 shows for $45 
Concession Price Season Pass – 3 shows for $36 

NZ Improv Festival

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.  

Theatre , Improv ,

1 hr

Newlyweds take the audience along on their double date

Review by Carrie Thiel & Conan McKegg 18th Oct 2019

This duo, made up of Ele Stankiewicz and Marcel Blanch de Wilt from Sydney, Australia, along with their special guests Jennifer O’Sullivan and Matt Powell (Thursday night only), give the audience a warm welcome and a chance to get to know them all before launching into action.  From the receiving the audience’s anonymous writing of ‘first date’ style questions to the brief but informative explanation of their show style (for those of us new to improv), their conversational approach works well to engage the audience from the start.

Making this connection with the actors as people creates a familiarity that encourages us to enjoy their improv in the way good friends of improv actors do.

The players draw on the conversation for their cues, which leads to the improvised scenes feeling fluid rather than trying to shoehorn in cues, and offers a nice balance between the actors’ ‘real life’ stories and the improvised scenes.  The teams are able to constantly draw back on other skits, creating a narrative that flows together by the end of the performance.  It’s an insane narrative, but linked.  Characters leap in and out of different scenarios which leads to running gags and gives the illusion of an organised script.

One has to admire Powell for his consciousness of health and safety – realising he actually spits on his hand, he respectfully wipes it before continuing to shake hands with Stankiewicz as they play brother and sister.

Blanch de Wilt never misses a comic beat and Stankiewicz brings dynamic vocalisation and physicality to her characters.  O’Sullivan saunters smoothly between her roles. 

On occasion overpowering in volume, Bryce Halliday’s musical interaction is a complementary companion that helps set the tone and further define the mood of the scenes.  Similarly, Jaklene Vukasinovic’s lighting accents the scenes and transitions skilfully.

The Newlyweds and their guests succeed in loosely weaving the audience-driven questions and double-date conversations into the emerging scenes.  These skilled quick thinkers are not afraid to change direction in a scene if it calls for it and though some moments can draw out past the best ‘scene ender’ lines, they seamlessly move from one scene to another as if rehearsed.   Everyone knows when to jump in before another player has lost their rhythm.  Between then they display great non-verbal communication and really solid teamwork.

From a book entitled ‘Wrestling with Politics’ to referencing the ‘Cheese Cartel’ the group draw in the themes touched on throughout and wrap up the show with a series of short and punchy Chicago-style improvs that blend together a little too swiftly.  The Newlyweds are successful in their goal to break the ice and make everyone feel like friends, delivering an hour of entertainment one would love to return to and see again. 


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