It’s improv. It’s a game show. It’s delightful chaos. It’s The Saboteur. 

Off the back of sold-out seasons in the NZ Improv Festival in 2019 and in Melbourne in 2020, The Saboteur is just over an hour’s worth of improv chaos as a part of this year’s Comedy Fest.

Five improvisors, one of which is trying to sabotage the show from within. Can you guess the saboteur? I certainly couldn’t, though my theatre-going companion could. Using a cleverly-made website and our smartphones, the audience could vote on who they thought the saboteur was. In the end, only 26% of us got it right. I wasn’t one of them.

With a rotating cast – and of course, it’s improv – you’re not going to get the same show every night. Across about an hour and a quarter, five improvisers (last night’s show was Stevie Hancox-Monk, Clare Kerrison, Jen O’Sullivan, Lyndon Hood and Wiremu Tuhiwai) are led through a series of improv games by the host (Jim Fishwick), as they compete to win our hearts.

From mimed moments about soup, performing scenes in only a specific number of words, dramatic retellings of their first kisses, and much more – these performers are incredible at what they do and leave the audience in hysterics, despite the 10pm start time.

Though the show feels a little too stuck in its format at times, and almost a smidge too expositional (?), it’s delightfully fun and wonderfully unpredictable. I think some of the most enjoyable moments come from the truly bizarre – three performers making a scene across three separate and unrelated genres at once comes to mind here.

The Saboteur is the fabulous cherry on the top of a stacked Comedy Fest programme. Check it out at BATS from now until Saturday the 22nd of May 2021.