The premise of #hashtag was similar to most improv shows: it evolved as the night progresses with the players taking offers and concepts from the audience. The key difference was the audience live tweets their offers to the performance using hashtags! It’s an awesome idea, one that fits right into our social-media driven world. From our phones to a Twitter live feed projected onto the back wall of BATS’ Heyday Dome, the players pick and choose our offers and craft short, usually engaging, always hilarious scenes. #hashtag made way for no less than forty, unique, fun, and energetic scenes, and showcased the skill, tenacity, and ingenuity of the players.
It’s good to be back up at Victoria University of Wellington’s theatre campus. I’ve fond memories of its rooms and its theatre spaces, from my productions and time there and from the work I’ve seen the programme create. After speaking with the students and director of these two theatre pieces a week or so ago in their Art Murmurs feature and learning about their passion and purpose, I’m all the more excited to indulge in the worlds of Moonlight and In the Attic: two shows targeted at young audiences. Director and researcher, Kerryn Palmer, and her nineteen students set out to break the stereotypes of children’s theatre, wanting to show audiences that there can be more to children’s theatre than pantomimes and happy endings, that children and young people wish to be challenged, too. Moonlight and In the Attic are two engaging and earnest productions that explore the ideas of discovery, journeying, and courage, all tied together with a bit of theatrical storytelling magic. These shows might be targeted at younger audiences, but I can say with resounding confidence that big kids like me love them just the same.
by Laura Ferguson
The glass is blacked out by curtains, the doors are closed and the black and white sign out front is the only indication that the Scruffy Bunny Theatre is open for business tonight. I stand, intrigued with the other three participants of this iteration of The Intrepid Bazaar. I am the only improv novice in my group, with three seasoned performers as my companions. Allowing only four member of the audience per 20-minute show, The Intrepid Bazaar provides a new style of improv comedy to what I have previously experienced.
And it’s that time of year again! The New Zealand Improv Fest is hitting the Wellington stages once more, with a huge running of shows from the 14 - 21st of October at the BATS and Scruffy Bunny Improv Theatre. Last night I had the pleasure of attending the second heat of the Improdome series and it was everything you’d hope and expect from a night of improv comedy; ridiculous, unexpected, hilarious, and a lot of fun.
Settling into my seat in BATS’ Propeller Stage, I feel as though I’m settling into a private concert, but in someone’s garage; instruments sprawl over centre stage in front of a wall full of rock band posters, and there’s classic garage clutter in the form of shoe piles, an old desk, and a coat rack to pull it all together. Satisfied Customers is the tale of four bandmates, part of the band of the same name. They’re barely able to maintain their friendships and keep the band itself together as they try to write a jingle to fit any and all commercials. Directed by Keegan Bragg, Satisfied Customers is funny and downright hilarious at times thanks to how he and the cast grasp Wilson’s clever combination of banter and one-liners. However, Satisfied Customers doesn’t feel complete yet, as though the finer pieces are still missing.
by Laura Ferguson
There is always something incredibly special about being at Circa Theatre, and tonight is no different. Gathered in the foyer, wine or beer in hand, we are here to see the opening night of Molière award-winning, The Father by Florian Zeller. The glitz and glam of theatre comes alive in our faces, a sparkle roguishly twinkles in an eye, dazzling smiles beguile, a sparking crackle of infectious laughter catapults through the room. Anticipation for Zeller’s black comedy creating a susurrus throughout the room... We sit, the lights dim, the play begins. I am immediately enthralled.
The Father is a black comedy surrounding the titular character André (Jeffrey Thomas) and his struggles with Alzheimer’s. His daughter, Anne (Danielle Mason), tries so hard to keep her father comfortable, while simultaneously attempting to lead her own life. In every scene, André is sure he is in his own flat, except the furniture and artwork continuously changes around him, so I know that can’t be true. The disintegration and reforming of what is true and what is not becomes a constant of The Father. I am forced to examine each new truth as André states them. We are in England, no, we’re in Paris. This is André’s flat, no actually, it’s Anne’s husband, Pierre’s. Zeller’s conceptual writing style creates a piece of art that looks disjointed and confused as I walk around it, but when I strike that perfect angle, everything lines up and makes sense. Sadly, this moment never quite comes for André and he wanders, endlessly lost, even as others consistently tell him he has seen it’s true form many times.
by Laura Ferguson
2 actors, 15 characters and a meta interpretation of theatre? Wow, sounds like a fun ride, one I am willingly strapping myself into tonight. Stones in His Pockets has opened at the Gryphon Theatre and I’ve been looking forward to seeing this show for a while. The challenge of seeing two actors portray an Orphan Black style of theatre is very compelling and I can’t wait to see what director, Tanya Piejus, does with such a fascinating concept.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.