New Zealand theatre reviews, performace reviews and performing arts directory

Follow Theatreview
Follow Theatreview on Twitter


Print Version
Photo by Stephen A'court
Photo by Stephen A'court
NZ Fringe 2014
Written by Leonie Reynolds & Michael Foster
Directed by Leonie Reynolds
Mysterious Stranger

at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site) Understudy Bar and various outdoor locations, Wellington
From 11 Feb 2014 to 27 Feb 2014
[1hr 20mins - Tues, Wed, Thurs only]

Reviewed by John Smythe, 12 Feb 2014

Being sworn to secrecy at the end of this enjoyably adventurous exercise creates something of a quandary for a critic. What can I say? 

Well the first thing is that our group – amiable, intelligent, happy to work together and reasonably efficient except, perhaps, with one communication exercise involving a very old system – takes two hours to complete the tasks set in the interactive scenario; significantly more than the 80 minute approximation in the fringe brochure.  And we end up a five-minute walk away from BATS Theatre (Out Of Site). So plan accordingly.

You have to book ahead because on the day of your booking text messages arrive on your cellphone. Nothing too onerous but they prepare you – and prepare ‘them' for you. More will become clear when you meet at BATS Theatre's Understudy Bar …

I'm not a Gamer and that doesn't matter although it may be an advantage if some of the group are, assuming the ‘vocabulary' of the sci-fi scenario and our participation is consistent with Gaming culture. Quite a lot of progress occurs through group dynamics while there are specific things required of you individually, within a private partnership.

We need our cellphones (a full range from simple to sophisticated is present within our group), the ability to read, appropriate outdoor clothing including good walking shoes and I would recommend decent pockets or a bag as our hands get quite full at times.

Powers of deduction help a lot too – e.g. why have we been given this piece of equipment and what should we therefore be on the alert for?

I should mention, too, there are actors involved, including Anthony Doornebosch, Fraser Peat and Hannah McKie, and all acquit themselves very well. It has taken a large team to develop the intriguing story, design the intricate game, create the not-too-taxing puzzles … And hidden from view are the watchers and indefatigable texters.

Frequency is the sort of event that goes to the heart of what Fringe is about. If you like problem-solving and group participation, book in for a very different theatrical experience.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.