Three members of visiting Kiwi comedy sensations the Improv Bandits took to the stage and for more than an hour kept the laughter coming with a rib-tickling deluge of clever improvised comedy that frequently involved the crowd – to the delight of some and the total embarrassment of others.
No-one was safe from becoming involved of the show, with Paice, Jackson and Kane making regular forays into the audience to gather human props. The action got pretty physical too, with the three actors randomly manhandling each other and members of the audience, and generally creating mayhem.
At the end of the show, and with a little encouragement from Motone presenter Glenda Tuaine, the crowd begged for some more and they got it, with the Bandits summoning the energy for more of their physically and mentally demanding brand of humour.
Few who were there probably knew it, but the Improv Bandits have an impressive pedigree. Not only did the troupe win the World Championship at the Improv Olympic as part of the Chicago Improv Festival, they had Warner Brothers produce The Improv Bandits show at their venue in Los Angeles and had George Wendt (Norm from Cheers) and Colin Mochrie (Whose Line Is It Anyway), come up after our show to congratulate them on a great performance.
They performed on the TV Gala as part of the New Zealand Comedy Festival in 2004, 2008, and in 2009 alongside Wayne Brady from Whose Line Is It Anyway. The troupe, which actually has about 10 members, has also taken part in a large number of national and international tours.
The Improv Bandits was formed in 1997 by Jackson with the aim of creating New Zealand’s first real narrative style improv troupe. For four years they performed at Auckland’s SiLO Theatre before Wade created the Covert Theatre, New Zealand’s first live improvised comedy venue.
They now perform at various venues in Auckland including the Maidment Theatre and The Classic. In 2000 Geoff Simmons and Tony Gilbert, members of the troupe, shifted to Wellington and shortly after Geoff and Wade created the Wellington Improv Bandits troupe in 2001.
And the good news for Rarotonga comedy fans is that promoters Motone Productions are already working towards bringing more acts to the island and it’s possible we could see some Kiwi stand-up comics here in the not-too-distant future.
“Friday was a great night. It’s was fantastic having a comedy act here because we rarely have them on the island,” said Motone’s Mo Newport.
“We’ve had some great feedback and it seems people loved the interaction and being involved in the show. Some have told us they thought it was hilarious and they thoroughly enjoyed the show.
“We definitely want to organise some more.”