While I love the format in theory, I struggle with the execution of it on this particular night. The scenes stray a little too far from the original interview content for my liking. They are incredibly strong as stand-alones but, in the context of the wider format, the show starts to feel incoherent and bitsy. Towards the end, I find myself scribbling down every detail from their answers to try and find the connections in the subsequent scenes, as they aren’t immediately obvious. In fact, I only manage to pick up on two clear references: one being to Jennifer O’Sullivan’s wrestling past and the other being to cheese. These improvisors are experienced, so it’s understandable that they might not need to take much material to produce a good scene but, in this case, I feel like that decision sacrifices the show as a whole.
It would also be great to see The Newlyweds: Double Date stay a little closer to its coupley theme, as that is definitely an audience expectation going in, based on how the show is described. Maybe this is just a matter of narrowing down the kinds of questions audience members can ask to dating-related ones so as not to end up with ones that throw the direction of the show. It would also help the intimacy of the show if the muso wasn’t set up to face away from the audience, as this makes it harder for us to connect with them.
The players do however do a great job of creating a wider narrative across their scenes. The scenes are wildly unrelated, but in the end they tie them all together in this crazy yet satisfying fondue-party finale. Some of the links are bizarre, but I still find myself believing them because the final scene is done with such conviction. It is definitely an entertaining end to the show.
If you are someone who likes the kind improv that keeps you on your toes, then you should definitely head to BATS to see this. The Newlyweds: Double Date has its final show tonight at 6:30pm. Click here to book tickets. For more information or to book tickets for other shows in the festival, visit the NZIF website.