Review: Poprox Improv
Poprox Improv is the brainchild of a bunch of Wellington theatre stalwarts: Pippa Drakeford-Croad, Dylan Hutton, Austin Harrison, Nina Hogg, Jonny Paul & Nino Raphael, and it is a show absolutely worthy of their talent. Performed for the first time this night at Miramar’s gorgeous new performance venue – Roxy Live (a glorious new space in the foyer of the Roxy Cinema on Park Road), this show is immersive, delightful and truly the most unhinged improv I’ve seen in a good long while.
(I mean that in a very complimentary way.)
A cabaret of the whimsical, the show is broken into several games, which I’m presuming will change across different iterations of the show. Warming us up with a rhyme game (with Nino setting the scene on the keyboard), we’re encouraged to boo when someone messes up, but there’s nothing at all malicious in it. Then Jonny plays four scenes with each of the other performers ducking in to play the other character in the scene, there’s a love story about two film projectionists, a vigil for a cat and a frankly horrifying scene at the dentist. The show culminates in a power ballad reminiscing on what had just happened.
There is a certain kind of joy in seeing performers who like each other perform on stage together, and that is certainly obvious in this piece. There’s a degree of stitching-up, a certain kind of tease, a nonsense and a delight in the uncanny that makes the hour and change of this show pass very quickly.
This group delights in misfirings, with bizarre ask-fors taken, some questionable object work and misheard audience prompts, but that’s the joy of it all. Finding the awkward and absolutely powering through it is so enjoyable to watch, and genuinely quite a skill, and throughout the show I’m frequently laughing so hard my chest hurts.
The chemistry and the improvising talent of this group cannot be understated. Though there are some challenging aspects to performing in a place like this – size, shape and breadth of the audience are all unusual – they take to it incredibly well and provide us with a hilarious, fantastic work.
Absolutely bloody good, check out the next one next time they’re about, it’ll make your night.
For more details about Poprox Improv, hit them up on Facebook.