Tuesday 21 March 2023

THE SABOTEUR: Theatre Review

WHAT: The Saboteur
WHEN: 20 - 25 March 2023
WHERE: The Butterfly Club (Upstairs)
CREATED BY: Jim Fishwick
PERFORMED BY: Kieran Boyd, Jason Geary, Melissa McGlensey, Amy Moule, and Jaklene Vukasinovic
SOUND BY: Bryce Halliday

Jim Fishwick - photo by Kirsty McGuire

It's a lay down misere. Guaranteed fun. If you ever just want to kick your heels up and have a great night out go find an improv show. It can't go wrong. Jetpack Theatre though, have taken the concept and upskilled it in The Saboteur. It is not just improv - it is a whodunnit for the audience as well. Playing at The Butterfly Club this week, this show is Who's Line Is It Anyway with an Agatha Christie adrenaline kicker.

It's a format we know and love. Jim Fishwick is our presenter for the evening and the show begins with him giving us a precis of the 'kitchen rules' of improvisation, introduces the performers (suspects?), and then explains that the real purpose of the evening is for us to figure out who the saboteur in the group is. 

The challenge for the saboteur is to play well enough to not get caught, but do enough to kill (or at least maim) the scenes they are in. This is a tricky performance model because on the one hand the show is being deliberately stifled, but on the other hand the audience is more invested because we are watching closely to see if we can spot the saboteur.

The Saboteur really works though, and I think they add another level of difficulty through misdirection. I suspect some of the performers also play a little... off?... occassionally to really muddle the waters. 

Note, I don't say that as criticism. I say that as an homage to how good they all are at scrambling the eggs. Also, part of the fun of watching improv is the mistakes and difficulties performers experience trying to keep the stories going.

As a straight up improv show The Saboteur is hilarious fun. As a whodunnit it is trickier than figuring out how many portfolio's Scott Morrison held as PM. 

All of the performers were fun and fantastic. Melissa McGlensey can fire up a scene and give it a depth and detail which is impressive. Amy Moule is the master of character creation and Jason Geary brings the energy and dynamics. Jaklene Vukasinovic is incredible at picking up offers, and Kieran Boyd... well isn't he a sneaky little dude!

Yes, Boyd was the saboteur on the night I attended but there is a rotating cast of around 10 actors across the season and a new saboteur is nominated each night so who knows who it will be on the night you go??? (PS: Don't turn off your phone, you will need it. Just switch it to silent).

3.5 Stars

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