10/05/2009 - 24/05/2009
A totally improvised noir where YOU call the shots!
Murder, Revenge, Justice, Improv… following in the tradition of Bogart, Rooney, and Bacall, explore the mean streets and dark underbelly of WellingSIN CITY; an improvised noir where YOU call the shots. Six of Wellington’s best improvisors explore and develop the classic tradition of noir in 70 minutes of action, intrigue, and double dealing.
Artistic Director Steven Youngblood thinks the time is right to bring improvised noir to the public: "Noir is definitely in the public consciousness. Movies like Sin City, Max Payne, Brick and The Good German are making noir popular again. We’re very excited about seeing Wellington through the hazy veneer of post-war prejudice and mistrust. Throw in the current climate of recession, and I think we have a show that Wellington can really get into."
Audiences can expect more WellingSIN City than just some light giggles "while there will be some very big laughs, the humour will come from events and motivations within the story, rather than some of the glossy schtick you may find on televised improv."
We all have our demons, but how we exorcise them is up to you. From the people that brought you "To Be Continued", "Love Possibly", and "The Young and the Witless".
Dates: 7pm, Sunday 10, 17, and 24 May
Venue: Fringe Bar, cnr Vivian and Cuba
Saxophone: John Wooley
Anton van Helden
Lights: Woody Tuhiwai
Noir show could be more transparent
Review by John Smythe 11th May 2009
A bar, a stage, a few rows of chairs dotted with the odd round table. As the gathering crowd buy and sip drinks, chatting between themselves, nothing seems too remarkable. That’s if you take no notice of the snappily dressed people lurking beyond a big black curtain. Yet everyone knows: this a place where anything can happen and hopefully will.
A saxy solo (from John Wooley) lays the mood for Derek Flores to introduce WellingSIN City in classic noir style: "You can’t beat it on a good day, when the rain comes at you from three different directions …(etc)"
The storytelling styles of Dashiell Hammett (creator of private detective Sam Spade) and Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlow) are employed to develop, by a range of ensemble improv techniques, tales that suck us inexorably into the dark underbelly of WellingSIN City.
Not that – on this first of three Sundays in May – a private dick led the story, on a quest to solve a mystery or some problem for a client. Instead, with minimal input from the audience – a place (Karori), an emotion (fear), a creature (cat) – we got intercutting and converging tales of ‘Fear in Karori’, involving dastardly scams in Zealandia (previously the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary) and ‘Black Cat City’, involving nefarious activities in an illicit Newtown casino.
W.I.T’s practiced team of players (Flores, Simon Smith, Chelsea Hughes, Steven Youngblood, Christine Brooks, Lindon Hood), aided, abetted and sometimes further challenged by two scenographers (Paul Sullivan & Anton van Helden) and a lights operator (Woody Tuhiwai), create by listening and responding, acting and reacting, accepting offers and upping the ante.
The audience at the first performance seems well satisfied. Me too. Lots of laughs. But I am left wondering how many of the characters and settings – e.g. the casino boss and his femme fatale partner – were pre-determined and slotted in. I’m not saying they were, just that there was nothing about the set up that showed us that was impossible.
Maybe more attention can be paid to making the process more transparent.
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