Carter Observatory, 40 Salamanca Rd (or near top of Cable Car), Kelburn, Wellington

12/02/2016 - 19/02/2016

BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site), Wellington

02/07/2013 - 06/07/2013

BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

16/02/2013 - 20/02/2013

Globe Theatre, 312 Main St, Palmerston North

20/03/2013 - 23/03/2013

NZ Fringe Festival 2013

Dunedin Fringe 2013

NZ Fringe Festival 2016 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details


The Distant Future. The Human/Zorgon Alliance’s Interstellar War is winding down after many long space years. A retired bounty hunter cruises the outer systems. She’s running from something. War is very good at bringing people out of retirement. As many figures from the past come out of the wood-work and her living cargo proves itself much more precious than first presumed, all this bounty hunter and her friends can do is run as far as they can.

But can you ever really out run your past? Especially in space, where even breathing is hard.

A Play About Space is the latest work from the acclaimed Wellington-based theatre company my accomplice that brought you the critically acclaimed DOORS. WALLS. AND ALSO SILENCE., think of all the fun you’ll find in the rubber room and A Play About Love. They are Chapman Tripp award winning actor Paul Waggott, award winning writer Uther Dean, and acclaimed actor/producer Hannah Banks.

A Play About Space is every sci-fi film you’ve loved when you were ten. It’s every sci-fi film you’ve loved today. And with their signature stripped-back theatrical aesthetic my accomplice will be accomplishing all that scale, grandeur and spectacle with a room full of desk-lamps. Delightfully and magically theatrical as well as being fun, funny and intense, A Play About Space is going to be one of the most pants-tightening extreme theatre productions you will see all year. We promise.

“my accomplice stands out from the pack of young Wellington theatre companies for the originality and intelligence of its theatre. my accomplice has created some of the most striking productions over the last twelve months and the imagination of the core collaborators explodes out of the stage with fresh energy.” – David O’Donnell, Director and Professor at Victoria University.

Wellington Fringe runs from 15 February to 9 March 2013. For more Wellington Fringe information go to www.fringe.co.nz

16th – 20th February 2013, 8pm
Duration: 60 mins
Venue: BATS Theatre
Tickets: $18|$14|$12
Bookings: www.bats.co.nz

Dunedin Fringe 2013 

The Globe Theatre 
March 20, 21, 22, 23; 9:00pm 

BATS out of site
Tuesday 2nd July to Saturday 6th July 2013 

NZ Fringe 2016  
Carter Observatory, 40 Salamanca Rd, Kelburn, Wellington  
6:30pm, 8:30pm, Feb 12th & Feb 19th 2016
(60 min)  Fridays Only
BOOKINGS: fringe.co.nz TICKETS: $20/$17/$15

Hannah Banks:  Captain Florencia Dreggs  
Alex Greig:  Joy
Paul Waggott:  Warner Hornshaw
Production Manager / Stage Manager / Performer:  Nicole Harvey

Fight choreography: Ricky Dey  
Design: Meg Rollandi;
Producer: Hannah Banks  

Theatre ,

1 hr

Insanely clever

Review by Shannon Friday 13th Feb 2016

Space is fun.  So is Space Place at Carter Observatory.  And so is A Play About Space, at Space Place at Carter Observatory. 

The show opens with Warner Hornshaw (Paul Waggot), a delightfully innocent space-rogue, and the stern pirate-with-a-heart-of-gold Captain Florencia Dreggs (Hannah Banks) breaking in to an abandoned (or is it?) derelict space ship to retrieve a McGuffin box.  An attack by cyborg-zombies forces a quick, blaster-firing retreat.

When the box is stolen and Hornshaw is captured by the menacing and manipulative Joy I’m-not-even-going-to-try-to-spell-all-those-surnames (Alex Greig, though the other actors lend a hand), Dreggs goes gallivanting across the galaxy to find the box and save her man.  It all ends with a showdown on a lunar base behind enemy lines, with a perfect ending twist.

The whole show is animated with a lo-fi enthusiasm that both supports and shows up the silliness of sci-fi. In contrast to last year’s Spyfinger, a straight-up parody, A Play About Space is structurally looser and bounces between both sending-up sci-fi and doing sci-fi, albeit on a very limited budget.  It reminds me of the really old Doctor Who episodes, where you can totally see the wheels on the Daleks, but they’re still a little scary. 

The actors create a million effects with everyday items, and the transparency of how it is done is so joyful. I feel like I could do it to – or did do that as a kid.  Like speaking into a fan to make a distorted computer voice, or the cardboard tube alien arms.  These are interspersed with demonstrations of remarkable skill, like the fight scenes, executed with “Kirk-fu” levels of dedication and heroism.  Or the rapid-fire wit and wordplay splattered throughout the play. 

That said, the show sits kind of oddly in the Planetarium at Carter Observatory.  I’m still trying to figure out the impacts.  The planetarium is designed to have us look up – all the light and sound is dispersed into the dome.  The production uses this when they can – Banks’ placement off to the side at the start, along with the odd echoes and bounces of sound, adds beautifully to the disorientation of the opening scene on the abandoned space ship.

The diffuse lighting has a stronger impact on the performance.  The use of the planetarium’s dome is, well, it’s cool!  We get to actually shoot through elongated stars for the hyperspace jumps, thanks to all the amazing things a planetarium can do.  The Horsehead Nebula is the background for another scene, and the moon-based finale takes place in front of a desolate lunar landscape.  Looking at it, I feel like 9 years again.  It is just neat, and I am very happy geeking out about the pretty space pictures (spictures?). 

At the human level, though, the show is really dark.  I’m aware of the work I’m having to do as an audience member to see the actor’s faces.  The use of live lighting, like an LED clipped to a snorkel mask, gives some much welcome focus and relief. 

But I think because I’m aware of the work I’m doing, I’m also aware of how hard the actors are working.  And I kind of want that to be secondary to my experience.  I want the show to feel like the cardboard-tube lightsabre fights I had with my brothers, where the work and commitment are hidden behind the enjoyment.  At times, this incarnation of A Play About Space feels more like watching a fencing match, where the enjoyment is the difficulty and cleverness of the work.  And I honestly think this is down to the lack of fill lighting. 

Lighting wobbles aside, this is still an insanely clever show, with enough genre in-jokes to satisfy nerds like me, but enough goofy humor to keep my partner, who dismisses my love of the genre as “chick in space”, both enjoying ourselves for the whole thing.

A Play About Space is goofy, fun, funny, gross, creepy, action-packed, clever as hell, and makes a gesture at having deeper meaning as an excuse for its silliness.  It’s sci-fi, and I love it. 


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A romp

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 03rd Jul 2013

There’s always something quirky and unusual on offer during a Fringe Festival. A Play about Space is Science Fiction and a satirical farce, probably a unique combination in our theatre. 

On a stage filled with reading lamps (fast becoming something of a theatrical cliché), standard lamps, and an electric fan that is a computer, A Play about Space takes us into the distant future when the Human/Zorgon Alliance’s Interstellar War is coming to an end. 

There is a plot about a bounty hunter with her past catching up on her but it gets very confusing because it is told at top speed and with ferocious energy by a cast of three, with a fourth (Nicole Harvey) who runs about doing various stage-manergerish jobs as well as playing the extra arms of the four-armed Zorgons. 

Hannah Banks, Alex Greig and Paul Waggott throw themselves into the action and numerous characters with a vengeance. There’s a lively theatrical imagination on display with long cardboard tubes and two angle-poise lamps being used to good comic effect. It’s a romp and the audience roared their approval throughout.


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Watch the wacky staging

Review by John Smythe 03rd Jul 2013

If you are an outer space sci fi nut who also enjoys being taken ‘out of this world’ by ingeniously simple theatricality, A Play About Space is a ‘must-see’ for you.

As I recall its debut season in the Fringe five months ago, it was an energetically delivered welter of ideas and images that left me more impressed by the clever and dynamic acting and production tricks than its plot or themes. This time round, the quartet of performers (3 actors and an actively participating stage manager-cum-lights operator) seem much more relaxed and fluent, allowing the story of a war-monger’s quest for redemption more space to breathe.

The obligatory barriers and challenges are confronted and variously dealt to, with much creative wit. Nevertheless the quest still presents as a means of playing at playmaking rather than as our point of access to empathy with an essentially human desire, albeit played out in extra-terrestrial climes. And fair enough, I guess, if pastiche is the major objective.

Of course if writer /director Uther Dean’s script is riddled with homages to classics of the genre to which I am not privy, I’ve missed a whole level. But I am a firm believer in such moments working afresh in their new context, with in-group recognition being a bonus. Otherwise the prior knowledge qualifications should be advertised.  

Hannah Banks holds the centre as Captain Florencia (Flo) Dreggs with a no-nonsense strength that gets to be both undercut and paid off as the tale unfolds and I’d have liked to feel more engaged in her states of being.

Her multi-armed nemesis, Joy, is principally played for fun by Alex Greig, augmented by stage manager Nicole Harvey who otherwise is flat out switching and directing the comprehensive array of desk, bedside and household lights so ingeniously employed throughout.

Paul Waggott’s impeccable timing and relaxed versatility facilitate his multiple roles, the main one being Flo’s hapless offsider Warner Hornshaw. The bit where Greig zones out at the side of the stage, apparently obliging Waggott to play multiple characters in what could have played out as a scene of major jeopardy for Flo, firmly locates the show in the ‘watch the wacky staging’ realm.

The fight choreography by Ricky Dey, mostly played out in slo-mo, adds heaps to the fun, as do Meg Rollandi’s design elements.

I confess a clear understanding of the plot point regarding Flo’s late husband eluded me and I wanted the whole clone/android dimension to have more impact at emotional and metaphysical levels.

As it stands, A Play About Space objectifies the genre somewhat. A recalibration that allowed its core themes – especially those regarding guilt and redemption – to be served by the theatricality, rather than overwhelmed by all that, could see it touring to many a festival, if that was their wont.


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High energy, rapid-fire, pop-culture melange

Review by Jonathan W. Marshall 22nd Mar 2013

‘Rough theatre’ seems to have developed as a recognisable trend within the emerging Wellington theatre scene, examples including Binge Culture (notably the chaotic cardboard box set of Drowning Bird, Plummeting Fish, 2009), The Intricate Art of Actually Caring (2009, with its wonderful use of an overhead projector and other clapped-out domestic items) and now My Accomplice theatre company, whose first works also date from 2009: clearly a good year for the rise of a new generation of theatre makers.

In what would seem to be the company’s first mature work, My Accomplice is now touring their rollercoaster ride, spoof piece, A Play About Space, written and directed by Uther Dean. 

A Play About Space pillages popular culture to produce a rollicking comedic work. There is more than a dash of Star Wars and Star Trek, though the principal influence is Firefly. Our protagonist is a former war hero turned space pirate, Captain Florencia Dreggs (played by Hannah Banks), and her somewhat hopeless sidekick Warner Hornshaw (Paul Waggott), both of whom become tangled in a double-cross with the four-armed Zorgon crime boss Joy (the front of whom is played by Alex Greig, whilst his second set of arms is depicted by stage manager Nicole Harvey, sandwiched across Greig’s back).

There are also kill-bots (bendy desk lamps animated by Harvey and Banks), evil aliens (the crab-like Khalkalari, simulated by the cast pulling enormous cardboard tubes over each arm), zombies (well, why not, really?), space battles (the audience is invited to throw paper planes at the performers during this mime), zap guns (crappy plastic toys which the cast fire by exclaiming “Whop, whop, whop!”), computers (vocal distortion ingeniously produced by speaking through the blades of a fan), and more. 

Much of the attraction of the piece therefore derives from the playful creativity on display for each theatrical problem the cast set themselves. We open with a space-walk. This is produced by Waggott sitting on a chair on coasters, legs and arms gently flailing, as Harvey pushes him across the stage. Swimming goggles and a painter’s coverall serve for the space suit, a small LED light clipped to the goggles gives the impression of a powered suit (as well as allowing us to see Waggott’s expressive eyes and brow during the sequence). We even have a jet pack of sorts, a foul smelling can of deodorant, which Waggott discharges at the front row in order to propel himself through zero gravity. 

It is like being a kid again, and it sure is great fun. The desk lamp kill-bots have deservedly received a mention in previous reviews, and the image of a drowsy lamp, its shade slowly moving towards the floor, as Waggott – ‘imprisoned’ in a mesh wastepaper basket thrown over his head – watches the bot out of the corner of his eye, certainly produces one of the more memorable images. 

The cast acquit themselves well. Banks does a good line in exasperated annoyance and assured violence; Ricky Dey’s fight choreography, whilst not especially involved, is also highly enjoyable, and makes good use of angles and shapes, as when the hissing Khalkalari level one great tube horizontally at their adversaries, another raised upwards and into a V, and then launch themselves with a twirl at our heroes.

Waggott is sympathetically pathetic, spending much of the play in the captivity of Joy, and wandering about trying to work out what the hell everyone else is really up to. Greig does good charismatic, campy villain, and his alternately fawning / offensive computer voices are a treat. Harvey’s attentive presence is all the more impressive for the fact that she, unlike the others, so rarely speaks. 

It is however the staging itself which is the real attraction. Aside from our killer desk-lamps, Harvey spends much of the play wrangling a series of power-boards scattered about the stage, turning on and off some of the cheapest but most effective theatrical lighting one is likely to see. Props and items are thrown about with gay abandon, and no effect is too cheesy to be employed. The white balloon with a cartoonish depiction of a face drawn onto it so that it might serve as a head is an especially nice touch. 

There is nothing advanced or philosophic going on here. Despite drawing on masterpieces of sci-fi, there is no real sign of the implicit anarchist politics of Firefly, the all but messianic intent of the Star Wars series depicting evil empires (read the Communists or Islamic dictatorships, depending on the film) versus white republics (the USA), or the freedom-through-diversity ethic of Star Trek (Prime Directive anyone?).

Perhaps A Play About Space should be seen as a timely reminder to even the Joss Whedon’s of this world that most sci-fi is cod-philosophising and cod-politics, at best. But that could be going too far.

If you are after a rapid fire piece of theatre made on a shoestring budget which offers an alternative take on what Grotowski once called ‘Poor Theatre’, then this high energy pop-culture melange is well worth a look. One suspects more tours will be in the offing for My Accomplice. 


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Hugely inventive

Review by Helen Sims 17th Feb 2013

Unsurprisingly, A Play About Space is set in space, in the (not too distant?) future where war rages between the human-Zorgon alliance and the crab-like Khalkalari.

Former war hero turned bounty hunter Captain Flo and her sidekick Warner Hornshaw have been sent to retrieve a box from the Erma Quixotic, a mysterious space lab. They successfully fight off a horde of zombies and take the cargo back across a war-torn galaxy to Joy, a 4-armed Zorgon who makes robots. 

In the process of trying to extort a higher price for the goods from Joy, Captain Flo loses the box and gets Warner held to ransom.  To free him she must travel behind enemy lines and confront her past…

Uther Dean and the cast of A Play About Space mine the space /sci-fi /action genre whilst also managing to produce a show that feels wholly original.  The script is packed full of memorable one-liners, which I will not spoil by quoting here. Go yourself and proceed to plagiarise the comic genius that is Uther Dean.

The cast looked amped to perform the show on opening night and their energy levels were outstanding.  Each of the three actors (Hannah Banks, Paul Waggott and Alex Greig) play one of the main characters the story revolves around, as well as a host of minor characters.

Hannah Banks’ voicing the cute but deadly death-bot is a particular highlight for me, although that is closely followed by Greig’s computer voices and Waggott playing the entire crew of a spaceship at breakneck speed. The cast is ably assisted by stage manager Nicole Harvey, who doubles as a number of (mostly) silent characters.

The show is brilliantly lit and employs a range of ingenious low-budget props. Fight scenes choreographed by Ricky Dey earned rapturous applause.  The show is hugely inventive and deserves a longer return season so it can develop. 


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