What proceeds is a free-flowing, high-paced hour of improvised comedy featuring murder, divorce and fun facts. Of course the content of every Tiny Dog show is different - such is the joy of improv - but having now seen three or four of their shows, the format is always the same and the players are always hilarious!
The performers take turns grabbing a post-it note and reading it out. A scene then starts inspired by that suggestion. The scenes tend to be short and sweet, and run until a performer walks across the stage and presents a new post-it. What the company do so well is sprinkling through games, poems and songs to break up the relentless flow of the show and offer variation. However, they do this in a way which is unique to Tiny Dog. Rather than explaining the game to the audience and setting up the rules, one of the players will read a post-it note as normal and then just dive into a lecture, tell a joke, or click their fingers. As if by magic, the rest of the cast see what’s going on and join in seamlessly. It’s slick, it’s clever and smart game selection means the audience never feels left behind.
I adore this facet of Tiny Dog and it contributes to a real feeling of ensemble among the performers. Even at the start and end of the show, there is no single MC, all duties are shared. Show muso (and an excellent one at that) Charlotte Glucina steps out from behind the keyboard to play in a couple of scenes, and Stevie Hancox-Monk takes her place displaying some of their own musical talent. The whole show feels organic, and easy. There is no clunky admin, not cringe as an MC tries to drag something out of an audience. The format of this show just works and let’s us enjoy these hilarious performers working as a team to make funnies.
Now look, it pains me to say this because it is one of only two regular improv shows in Poneke that I have no involvement with; Tiny Dog is the most consistently funny improv show in the city…maybe the country! If you’re looking for a loose, fun good-time Tiny Dog is the place to be.
One note I will make is about the venue. This was their first show at the Cavern Club, and while the cosy bar vibes absolutely work, I do think it limited the dynamic play which comes naturally to this group of performers. A small stage, and fairly rubbish sightlines mean that playing with physicality and levels on stage was pretty tricky. I think this is a shame, because this is a company with some strong physical performers and who naturally tend toward high energy chaos in their characters. I reckon they’ll do better in a bar venue with a slightly bigger performance space to let them run free.
To wrap up, Tiny Dog is a brilliant show, with a sensationally funny cast making it a guaranteed great night out. I hope it will continue to be a staple of our improv scene for many laugh-filled years to come.
Tiny Dog perform roughly once a month and can be found on Facebook and Instagram. You can also catch them as part of the New Zealand Comedy Festival this month.
Disclaimer: I have known the cast of Tiny Dog for a number of years, and used to perform with them regularly when we were in a now defunct improv company together. I’ve done my best to give a fair review, and genuinely believe they deserve every bit of the praise given in this review. If you have any feedback on our reviews please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email us at email@example.com