Kristy Thomas. Claudia Kishi. Mary Anne Spier. Stacey McGill. Dawn Schafer.
Is your nostalgia gland flaring up yet? If so, congratulations! You were a tween in the 90s! If not, fear not. Definitely Not Witches are ready to take you on a guided tour down memory lane with a Kiwi twist. In this one hour love-letter from New Zealand women to the literature of our childhood, Definitely Not Witches (and guests) bring you a new chapter in the improv playbook, as we finally realise our dreams of creating a babysitting club in 1990s New Zealand with a cast of characters inspired by the books.
‘Fandoms are a huge thing these days, and for many young New Zealand women, the Babysitters’ Club was our first experience with such a phenomenon,’ says Jennifer O’Sullivan. ‘We all knew which girl we most wanted to be, which babysitting charges we liked the best, which stories were our favourite. For the record, I always wanted to be Claudia. Endless supplies of junk food, excellent fashion sense, AND my own phone line? Sign me up!’
‘We’ve been reading up a storm to prepare ourselves,’ says Abby Howells, who would definitely be Stacey on account of how cool and chic they both totally are. ‘There’s a lot to love about the text. Preteen entrepreneurs! Thrilling recaps of the central characters in every book! Boy trouble! A seemingly never ending eighth grade! Mysteries! Bumper summer editions!’
‘This show isn’t about replicating the books on stage,’ says Christine Brooks (totally Kristy, minus the turtlenecks). ‘It’s about taking the things we love about these stories and characters and saying, what if these girls lived in New Zealand in the 90s instead of Stoneybrook, Connecticut? What adventures would they have? How seriously would parents really have taken advice about their children from 13 year olds in small town NZ?’
As if this weren’t awesome enough, for this performance Definitely Not Witches are joined by Melbourne improvisor Anna Renzenbrink - Standout Performer NZ Fringe 2013 and one of the highlights of the New Zealand Improv Festival 2014.
‘I’m thrilled to be a part of this show,’ says Renzenbrink. ‘A New Zealand BSC absolutely needs its very own Aussie exchange student. But definitely one less annoying than Dawn.’
Created with love by long-time fans for anyone who ever dreamed of starting up their own club, and anyone who needs a crash course in this quality contribution to the literary canon, Definitely Not The Babysitters’ Club promises a hilarious time in BATS’ beautifully refurbished Dome Theatre space full of tweenage drama, babysitting mishaps, and way too much awesome 90s fashion. Club meetings are 28 April to Saturday 2 May 2015 at 7pm; BATS even has its own phone line so you can start calling to book now!
About the performers
Definitely Not Witches are Christine Brooks, Rose Cann, Abby Howells, Caitlin McNaughton and Jennifer O’Sullivan.
Born from the collaboration that was ‘Taking off the Bird Suit’ (June 2014, BATS Theatre), Definitely Not Witches are a new improv ensemble inspired to work together and bring their own brand of hilarity to the Wellington stage.
Anna Renzenbrink (Melbourne) has been improvising since 2001, and for ten of those years she trained & performed with Impro Melbourne. An audience favorite, Anna is known for her vibrant, playful and left-field style, which leaves you feeling that all is right (yet a little bit wrong) with the world. Whether playing short or long form, Anna consistently creates strong characters, most often inspired by her love of literature, history and trivia gleaned from the Internet. She was last in Wellington for the New Zealand Improv Festival and wowed audiences with her work in In The Parlour and Plus One. She also delighted audiences in Spider Dance (NZ Fringe 2013), winning Fringe's Stand Out Performer Award for this season.
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