Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT) – CSI: Wainui

BATS Theatre, Wellington

10/05/2011 - 14/05/2011

NZ International Comedy Festival 2011

Production Details

A grisly murder in the Hutt. A killer on the loose. 
But why here? Why now? Wainui?

The Wellington Improvisation Troupe is back with a fresh new improvised comedy about CSI, DNA and the DPB. Opening at BATS 10 May, join the CSI: Wainui team – the best forensic scientists, amateur detectives, and neighbourhood-watch-enthusiasts that the Hutt can muster. But with all the emotional baggage they bring to work, can they catch the culprit? 

“Everyone knows that Wainui is basically the Vegas of New Zealand,” says Mark Scott, creative director. “With the audience’s help, each night we will solve the unsolvable, uncover the un-uncoverable, and always get the bad guy with the help of cutting edge technology. I think we even have an OHP.” 

The Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT) is Wellington’s not-for-profit, community-based improvisational theatre group. WIT performs and teaches the skills of improvisational theatre at community venues around the Wellington region. 

Theatre is made up on the spot by some of Wellington’s leading improvisers and courageous newcomers alike, based on suggestions from the audience. WIT players share a love of storytelling and work together as a team to inspire the audience. WIT theatre is sometimes serious, often hilarious and always totally unpredictable. 

“I laughed so hard I coudn’t see” – Uther Dean, Salient 
"Another small miracle of ingenious group creativity." – John Smythe, Theatreview 
"Made me laugh a lot" – Laurie Atkinson, Dominion Post  

Dates: 10 – 14 May, 6:30pm 
Venue: BATS Theatre
Tickets: Adults $16, Conc. $14

Bookings: 04 8024175 or book@bats.co.nz     


WIT delivers

Review by John Smythe 10th May 2011

With the plethora of cop shows on TV an improv format was probably inevitable and the Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT) has obliged with CSI Wainui. Why Wainui? Why not?

The constants are the intrepid detectives Connie Buick (Christine Brooks) and Mick DeLowry (Mark Scott). And Tane Upjohn-Beatson, who provides the instant atmospheric music superbly.

Having introduced Wainuiomata – the valley of eternal mist – the Ds ask audience members about it and, on opening night, discover it has no KFC and does have every sort of church. Thus we get: The Case of the Death at the Church. The only other audience offer is the shuffling of cards which randomly tell each player whether they are the murderer, victim or a suspect.  

As per the TV format, we see characters, situations and circumstances established through a series of quick scenes – in our case: a Mother (Jennifer O’Sullivan) and her choirboy son Gareth (Geoff Symonds); the Priest (Lyndon Hood); Luke, an atheist from the Evolutionary Biology Group who hire a church hall for their meetings (Anton van Helden); Sister Mary (Hanna Pickersgill).

Then the priest is found dead: a shotgun wound to the chest. Enter the Crime Scene Investigation Unit (CSI). The cast don white coats to become forensic scientists and a table (prepared earlier) is set up with laboratory paraphernalia.

The interviewing of characters segues into re-enactments of what led up to the murder. And slowly a picture emerges, with offers flying thick and fast between the players, often shift the ‘truth’ moment by moment, which is as it should be with improv. Some of the best evolutions come from unexpected offers that initially seem like a bad call or likely to over-complicate things.

It’s bizarre and complex yet efficient and smooth in its execution. Little bits of personal lives and interrelationships garnish the crime story. We are kept guessing and a good climax is achieved before the case is solved and the dramas resolved.

I am impressed by the cast’s general knowledge and the basic intelligence they bring to working the story as it materialises. WIT shows once more they can be counted on to deliver.
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