BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

19/09/2013 - 19/09/2013

NZ Improv Festival 2013

Production Details

“This is f**king awesome!” – Macklemore, The Heist, 2012.

THRIFTSHOP is a bargain hunter’s dream. The cast head to a local opportunity shop to source costume and set. Alongside the volunteers, shoppers, and donors, they collect material: clothing, books, bric-a-brac. These items and experiences are loaned to us for one night to create and inspire our show.

At the end of the performance, members of the audience have the opportunity to purchase any items (excluding the performers). The rest is returned to the shop, along with the proceeds, and a donation from the ticket sales.

THRIFTSHOP is born from the challenges of travelling theatre. However small the show, touring is a logistical (and budgetary) nightmare. This encourages artists to use local community as a resource to help solve these problems, and in turn give something back. It promotes the sharing of resources, and the promotion of local communities through theatre.

With 17 shows in 5 days, the New Zealand Improv Festival is bound to tickle your tastebuds.
Book your tickets now at BATS Theatre (Out of Site)
($18 / $14)
or email to see all three shows in one night for $36!

Date(s) – 19/09/2013
8:00 pm – 9:00 pm

April Seymore
Alice Canton (director)
Rik Brown
Katherine Weaver
Hamish Parkinson
Linda Calgaro

Robbie Ellis
Roger Sanders

55 mins

Not their best work

Review by Hannah Smith 20th Sep 2013

You never know what you might find in a second hand shop – could be trash, could be treasure – and the parallels with improvised theatre are immediately apparent. 

In Thriftshop Alice Canton directs a troupe of improvisers (April Seymore, Rik Brown, Katherine Weaver, Hamish Parkinson, Linda Calgaro, plus musicians Robbie Ellis and Roger Sanders) drawn from the numerous companies playing in the festival, and they create scenes inspired by a random assortment of props and costumes sourced from second-hand shops.

This premise is loose, and the show is looser. At the outset, the contract of engagement is not clear, and the open-ended provocation ‘costumes and props’ leads to a series of scenes in which two wackily dressed characters say wacky things to one another. Story and character development are not priorities, and the result is a succession of dialogue scenes with even more absurdist characters and surreal stereotyping than the improv-usual.

The players also struggle in the face of some pretty aggressive accompaniment from the two musicians. There were several scenes where the sound overpowered the dialogue, and it felt as if the music was fighting the players, trying to push the scene in a certain direction and leaving no space for quieter moments. I often could not hear what was being said, and wondered if those on stage could hear each other.

Towards the end of the show members of the audience are invited onstage to dress a player as a character that they’d like to see in a scene: a good gambit, and one that I think would have been better placed at the top, as it allows for interaction and investment from us, and also makes us semi-responsible for the scenes that result.

There are some nice lines and some successful moments – a flirtation on the tennis courts, a poem about seagulls that sees some pretty inventive prop work – and Hamish Parkinson is a delight to watch. He manages to slow down the action, forcing scenes to have a varied pace, and he does nice work building worlds without words.

The props and costumes used in the show are for sale in the bar after – all proceeds going towards the Opportunity for Animals shop.  A nice touch, and they seemed to do some pretty good business, so as an innovative partnership between second-hand shops and theatre I would say Thriftshop is on the right track.

As a performance though, this was not the best work I’ve seen from any of these players, and it will probably require more experimentation with the structures and boundaries of the format before it can really sing.  


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