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October 8, 2009 | by  | in Theatre |
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The Con Artists Present Bite Me: Fangprov

The Con Artists are one of New Zealand’s most respected and oldest troupes, and their Jane Austen themed improvisational musical was a high light for many people last year. So when they come down to present Fangprov, an improvised vampire themed musical, I was completely ready to be sucked in. Yes it was very funny, but I wasn’t blown away by the show.

The problem wasn’t their improvisation, because the troupe worked together well and Penny Ashton’s characters especially were quite watchable. I just don’t understand why they decided to stage the production as a musical. None of the cast really had the singing chops to front a musical piece, and Robbie Ellis, who is quite a musical genius, had to sit there grinding out hook after musical hook that the cast rarely latched onto, so the actual numbers were thinly spread out.

I enjoyed the actual narrative of a small American town over run by a family of vampires, and Stayci Taylor did a grand job of anchoring the tale with her hair dresser character. Though, the usually fabulous Clare Kelso was left out of the action for most of the show. However, as this was just how the show was improvised, that was just a minor disappointment, not a major problem for a piece of theatre.

So Fangprov was pretty good just not amazing, the problem with improv is though, that while the story will change the format can largely stay the same, and they need to rethink the musical genre for that cast as when they played to their strengths it was a bunch of family fun.

The Con Artists Present Bite Me: Fangprov was part of the New Zealaand Improv Festival 2009, presented on Thursday 8th Of October at Bats Theatre.

-Nic Sando

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Nic Sando is a god amongst men, fifteen fathoms high he be, with strange and wyrd powers at his disposal. Only a fool won't harken his ears to the east when he hears The Sando man stumping his way. http://thesando.com

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