BATS Theatre, The Heyday Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

16/10/2019 - 16/10/2019

NZ Improv Festival 2019

Production Details

Created and performed by Amy Moule

Have you ever wondered what is behind a locked door? What secrets are held there, or what sorts of people are behind it? In Unlocked, a key is chosen, and used to ‘paint’ the door to which the key fits. Follow the performers into the world the key inspires.

Unlocked has the possibility to delve into a world of naturalism and non-naturalism; to explore temporal and geographical locations. We may be taken back in time or plummeted into the future. The possibilities are endless – come along and unlock your imagination.

Amy Moule is an actor, improviser, teacher, director, puppeteer and an ensemble member with Impro Melbourne. Amy has taught and performed Improvisation, drama, and puppetry workshops and shows to children and adults throughout Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Europe, Canada and Reunion Island. She has developed and directed numerous improvisational formats and has performed in and developed numerous scripted and non-scripted shows including performances in the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival and Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and various and numerous international festival’s.

BATS Theatre: The Heyday Dome*
16 October 2019
at 7pm
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

*Access to The Heyday Dome is via stairs, so please contact the BATS Box Office at least 24 hours in advance if you have accessibility requirements so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.

Theatre , Improv , Puppetry ,

1 hr

Less would be more

Review by John Smythe 17th Oct 2019

Have you ever been to umpteen open homes and felt interested in some but been moved on without being able to explore any of them properly? Or have you browsed in a bookshop and dipped into some promising tales only to have them taken from you and replaced by others? Unlocked is a bit like that – and it doesn’t need to be.  

In a ritualised opening, with a portentous mood set by Bryce Halliday on keys, a small box of keys (to various locks) is placed on a plinth and the five actors – Ben Zolno, Luke Rimmelzwaan, Laura Irish, Cam Percy and Jonathan Briden – mime opening doors.

A single spot (Jasmine Bryham on lights) picks out the first ‘entrant’ – Jonathan. He selects a key, describes it in detail, moves to an imaginary door, describes that in detail too, returns to downstage centre, adopts a physical quality – and makes his entrance. Meanwhile, in response to these offers, other actors may or may not have inhabited the space, so when he unlocks and opens the ‘door’ he has that offer to accept and build on.

In this first one, it turns out he has been away for some time, for which his siblings (Luke and Laura) berate him, given how sick their mother is now – but he has found some elusive flower, “as foretold in the scriptures”, that promises a cure. End of scene.

The next key, selected by Cam, finds her in an old shed wondering why she, as the songwriter, has been locked out of band practice – by the bass-player (Ben) and drummer (Jonathan), who plan to do the Bowling Club gig without her. Next!

And so they continue – 15 different scenarios by my count, each initiated by a chosen key. There’s a mum and dad couple whose attempts to enact a heist are compromised by not being able to find a baby sitter. An old lady still living alone insists she doesn’t need help from her well-meaning grandson. The fury of an inanimate humanoid may be unleashed if someone strokes his arm. A lone pop-music nerd greets images of his rock star icons.

Someone called Precious is being kept inside because exposure to humans made her blind. Stoners think they’ve been busted by a cop but she turns out to be an vengeful dumped girlfriend. There’s a jazz club that is going broke and we get a glimpse of why. A velvet door reveals a Love Fortune Teller …  

At last we’re returned to the first scenario, where the prodigal son gives the curative flower to his grateful mother. Then on to another new one: a hostage now willing to do anything, if he can only see his family again. A children’s cubby house turns out to be a flashback to the kids who grow up and form a band. Again we feel the thrill of a ‘refer back’ but it’s quickly over. A ‘key to someone’s heart’ reveals someone has been waiting a very long time to be ‘let in’. A ‘fob’ key takes us into an unreal office where the CEO discovers he has been promoted to heaven … And now the hour is up, signified by a similarly ritualised ending.

There have been a couple of examples of silent offers being missed because they take place behind the other players: the child unwillingly taken on the heist laboriously peels on a balaclava or latex mask only to have it completely ignored; the stoner’s new girlfriend arrives from her shower wrapped in a towel only to be commanded by the gun-toting ex to put her hands in the air but none of the others pick up on that.

Such misses are inevitable as so much material is being flipped through. There is no doubt these impro experts are highly creative, responsive and entertainingly interactive, as are the musician and lighting operator. And as a means of displaying such talent, Unlocked succeeds. But from an audience perspective, the tantalising parade of umpteen opening scenes, with only two slightly developed, is as unsatisfying as picking at a buffet with a toothpick without ever getting to fill your plate, or a wine tasting that offers so many varieties you can’t think which you want to try again, let alone purchase.

I’d come again if I knew fewer scenarios were going to be revisited and explored more fully. Less would be more.


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