Is it you or is it me, but this show is funny [by James Wenley]
Friday nights have just got more interesting.
If you find yourself in town 11pm on a Friday night and in need of entertainment, the Instant Kiwi Improv series at Q is a big winner.
Being an improvised show, it’s new each week. And they re-theme the shows every few weeks for extra newness.
Playing at the moment is Instant Anatomy, a show that pokes fun in one of New Zealand’s great cultural love affairs: The medical Soap Opera.
Instant Anatomy takes us inside the doors of Grey Lynn Hope. All the familiar tropes are included: Sordid love affairs, scheming CEOs, lesbian doctors, bar staff inexplicably becoming nurses. While not all of us would admit to watching Shortland Street, most of us are familiar enough with it to enjoy what’s on offer in this affectionate spoof.
The show is from the manic minds of Con Artists, one of Auckland’s most reliable improv companies, and known to many recent high school students through their work with the Theatresports in Schools program. Previously based at The Drake, since Q’s opening Con Artists have moved to late nights, playing within the set of whatever other plays are in residence that week.
While Anatomy includes skilled old-hands like Penny Ashton and Dan Bain amongst its cast, I’m impressed with the number of new attractive young talent in hospital scrubs.
The dapper rat bag Dr Rhett Hambleton (Chris Neels) introduces the show. The audience is asked for a disease one of the characters will catch (Gonorrhea). We are told that at one point a character will get a promotion, and a wheel is spun to decide who this is (Nikki Bennett’s Head Surgeon). With these few offers, the cast are away, picking up from the previous weeks show, creating a very soapy story with young relationships gone bad, conspiracies and a very funny ‘Nurse off’ right in front of our eyes.
There’s little jostling for stage time and top billing amongst this ensemble, working well to make sure all plot lines get dealt to. While leaving us with the obligatory cliff-hanger, the story is wrapped up satisfactorily for all. And if the show wasn’t made up live, I’d even venture to say that Instant Anatomy’s writing rivals the heights of Shorty Streets scripts!
Future Instant Kiwis promise a Xmas theme, but the final episode of Instant Anatomy promises to be required viewing. The team are presenting a tribute to the Musical episode of Greys Anatomy. Maybe see you there?
The Season final of Instant Anatomy is presented by Con Artists and plays at Q Loft this Friday 2nd December, 11pm. More information at Q.
Grey Lynn Hope Behind the Scenes Video: