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

14/10/2021 - 14/10/2021

NZ Improv Festival 2021

Production Details

An hour-long celebration of the amazing life of a real person: YOU! One audience member will be chosen to be the centre of our show as we meet important people from their past and relive the moments that shaped their extraordinary life.

The NZ Improv Festival returns with its annual celebration of improvised theatre in all its forms. From comedy to drama, musicals to mystery, and plenty of mischief, there’s something for everyone. Eighteen unique shows over five days at the wonderful BATS Theatre – don’t miss a moment!

BATS Theatre, The Random Stage
14 October 2021
The Difference $40
Full Price $20
Group 6+ $18
Concession Price $15

The NZ Improv Fest takes place at BATS Theatre
Performance programme 12-16 October 2021
Workshops 8-16 October 2021
Learn more at

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

Carried off with aplomb and charm

Review by Chris Hobbs 15th Oct 2021

For one night only, BATS’ Random Stage has been transformed from a mere performance space to the set of (presumably) the hit show Your Extraordinary Life. As I enter the stage, shielding my eyes from the glitz of tinsel and colourful balloons, I’m approached by a cheerful stagehand (Trubie-Dylan Smith). “Is your name Khaliah?” they ask me. Fortunately for all involved, it is not.

As we settle into our seats, it transpires they’re looking for the lucky (unlucky?) audience member who will be the sole focus of tonight’s show. Riffing on the late-20th Century biographical show ‘This Is Your Life’, tonight’s show promises to be a deep dive into, in the words of our host (Matt Powell), one not-so-ordinary New Zealander, who has bravely volunteered themselves to be the subject around which the performance revolves. 

Before we kick off though, we’re drenched in the bright lights of this sound stage (Bethany Miller) and immersed into the workings of an authentic TV show with the floor manager (Jennifer O’Sullivan) instructing us in how to cheer and boo and sigh, and eventually giving us the classic silent countdown as the theoretical cameras roll and the broadcast begins.  

Entering to a cheerful score (keyboardist Matt Hutton) with a confidence that counters the fact that, to our knowledge, they’re not a member of this improv team, our interviewee is barely seated on the garish sofa before being pounced on – verbally – by the host, and their life unpacked piece by piece.

Beginning with a childhood friend (Marea Colombo), and working our way through a stern old school teacher (Sue Howard) and current boyfriend (Ben Zolno) to a time traveller from the future (Lyndon Hood) who reveres her eco-friendly legacy, we’re treated to a smattering of wholesome, TV-friendly humour, a good deal of awkwardness on the part of the interviewee (as they interact with improvised versions of real people in their lives), and the unflappable wit of these veterans of the Wellington Improv scene.

As we reach the conclusion, I begin to wonder how they’ll tie the interviews together and wrap it all up – no mean feat considering the departure from a conventional narrative – but the day is saved when our interviewee provides some heart-warming and inspiring words about valuing yourself and your own achievements, much to the audience’s appreciation. 

And with that, the theoretical credits roll.

The format is not without its pitfalls – namely the risk involved in having an audience member involved in the show – but it works best when the cast offer up scenarios which are starkly contrary to the interviewee’s real experiences. Overall it is a pleasure to watch, and is carried off with an aplomb and charm that allows us to celebrate the life of an extra-ordinary person through the laughs. And underneath, we’re all extraordinary. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council