by Laura Ferguson
Heading into the Random Stage at BATS the stage is lit in a red ambience, an actual stage elevated above the seating area, a rarity for BATS. The smoke machine is swirling, the band in the corner is thumping out an upbeat bass and the hairs on the nape of my neck are tingling with anticipation. Monster Songs is a supernatural pop concert filled with songs we love from pop and other from musical theatre, centred around monster-themed tunes. I love Hallowe’en, it’s my favourite time of year, so I was giddily looking forward to the show starting.
Photo credit: Katie Hill
Real life newlyweds Eleanor Stankiewicz and Marcel Blanch-de Wilt invite improvisors from NZIF to join them each night for an improv-filled double date in their New Zealand debut of The Newlyweds: Double Date. For their Wellington premiere on Thursday evening, they were joined by none other than Jennifer O’Sullivan and Matt Powell.
Introducing Wellington’s most eligible bachelors! Bachelor number one: “Bogan scum” Mike (Haydn Carter) from Reefton a sheep shearer with a heart of gold. Plaid-clad, Mike looks like he’s walked off the pages of a Footrot Flat’s comic strip. Bachelor number two: ̶K̶e̶v̶i̶n̶ Cevin “with a C” (Isham Redford) an impossibly rich, sobby “jaffa” is just as love sick as his rural counterpart. Who will win Lina’s (Monica Reid’s) Ice-Queen heart?
Photo credit: Alex Rabina
Dunedin-based improv troupe Improsaurus take the Random Stage in the second week of New Zealand Improv Festival. Their show is a longform, character-based narrative where the story is in the hands of a coin-flipper. So improvisors, gamblers, and Westerners alike: saddle yourself up for the wild ride that is Mild West: Draw.
‘Boy meets girl meets his boyfriend’ we’re told on the cover of Cock’s programme: it’s more than enough detail to tantalise, to get audiences to ponder on what could possibly cause such a circumstance. We hone in on John (Jack Buchanan), a man who deals with being attracted to M (Simon Leary), a man, and W (Karin McCracken), a woman, simultaneously. But rather than a story of infidelity, Cock is a pulsating tale that inspects the hate and pain that comes with love, the imposing labels that generate fear and anxiety in our world, and how making the ‘right’ decision can sometimes feel impossible.
And we’re back with another NZIF instalment. Impulse Theatre graced the Random Stage on Thursday evening (and will until Saturday 12 October) with their touring show Off Book: The Musical, which is exactly what it sounds like: an improvised musical. For this season, however, the cast of six is joined by Wellington’s very own Bethany Miller, who adds a dose of cheery optimism to the mix.
New Zealand Improv Fest officially opened on Wednesday night, spearheaded by Here’s a Thing: NZIF Kickoff, MC’d by Jennifer O’Sullivan. This show was jam-packed with the kind of audience anticipation that any kickoff performance should hope to earn. It felt like I was back in high school, attending my first ever theatre fest.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.