Regan Crummer - Theatreview.org.nz'They really have mastered the techniques behind improvisation, and this evening leaves me holding a great deal of respect for this closely knit group of thespians. It is truly a splendid performance...'open/close
I have always been fascinated by the art of improvisation. There is something magical about braving the boards with nothing more than sometimes a single word to guide you through the fog and mist of good old improv. The things you utter never fail to surprise and will more often than not send people into hysterical fits of laughter. I've always enjoyed the challenge but know for a fact that having to improvise would send some actors to an early grave.
This short showcase, performed by six members of the Improv Bandits, is a true privilege to watch. They really have mastered the techniques behind improvisation, and this evening leaves me holding a great deal of respect for this closely knit group of thespians. It is truly a splendid performance.
The super six – Geoff Simmons, Greg Ward, Mark Scott, Tom Kane, Tony Gilbert, and Wade Jackson – start the show off with a bang (literally) with three solid freeze frame pictures, breaking the last of them with a united firing of imaginary pistols. The message is clear: the bandits are here!
This grand entrance is followed by a very informal introduction, where each of the improvisers take turns at warming the audience up using various methods, including roaring out your favorite superhero, and also mimicking laughter. A connection between the performers and the audience is immediately established here, and everyone joins in with hearty gusto. The audience is included consistently throughout the evening, adding suggestions for every stretch, and I really am a fan of this, as it adds to the seasoning of this performance.
A number of scenarios are eagerly recommended by members of the audience, and the Bandits pull each one off with skills that any comedian would envy. There are two musical numbers, one about a mysterious cucumber the other about being engaged, and these (accompanied by guitar) are ridiculously funny. As a musician myself, I have to compliment Greg Ward in particular on his spiffing voice.