October 23, 2018

Space Patrol 5: The Next Generation

With warm memories of the epic (10 hour long) SciFi Improv show DeepSpace Naenae (directed by Jennifer O'Sullivan with Matt Powell and Brendon Bennetts) from the NZ Fringe 2017, I had high hopes for Space Patrol 5: The Next Generation at the New Zealand Improv Festival 2018 (directed by Matt Powell and Brendon Bennetts).

And to be frank, they had me with the set, the lighting, the smoke machine and the music. Everything else was a bonus. And there was a lot of bonus.

It had everything you would want in a SciFi soap opera - the stock dramatic one-liners, "Captain, its a trap!", the corny hand-made props (made by members of the audience - you don't get any more audience participation than that!), it had the running around and the fight sequence and the moment of slick evasion of the plot problem at the last moment "Ah, we did it!" It didn't do the "red shirts" joke, but that's probably a good thing.

And it had everything you would want in a Improv comedy show - it had the running gags that very quickly drew the audience in, the juxtaposition of contradictory memes (the planet of the Kardashians), the moments of self reference "I just did that for dramatic tension", the big man rolling out of the scene and hiding behind the prop because he wasn't supposed to be visible, and the cast forgetting the name of the weird and dangerous plant - teasing the audience with the possibility of falling out of character.. but catching us before we fell.

And because we gave of ourselves to be amused, the audience gave it a warm and enthusiastic reception. A joyful and quirky experience indeed.

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