Newtown (Register at for details), Wellington

17/02/2017 - 19/02/2017

NZ Fringe Festival 2017 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

“The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” -Leonardo Da Vinci  

Has life got you down? Do you find yourself wishing you could #landonyourfeet? Are you losing yourself in pictures of cats during your work day? Do you ever catch yourself thinking, ‘I wish I could meet more nice cats’?  

Hi, I’m Alayne, and I’m here to help! Alayne’s Cat Safari™ is an exciting new opportunity for you to join me, Alayne, on a tailored adventure into the CRAZY urban jungle of Wellington to find its best and nicest cats.*

Book a ticket at today for your next purr-fect adventure!!** 

* Cats are not a guaranteed experience on an Alayne’s Cat Safari™ Cat Safari. No refunds are available to customers who attend an Alayne’s Cat Safari™ Cat Safari and do not see, pet or otherwise interact with cats during the course of that Cat Safari.  

** Although Alayne’s Cat Safari™ takes all reasonable steps to keep the Cat Safari experience satisfying to all Cat Safari participants, Alayne’s Cat Safari™ takes no responsibility for any deviations from what has previously been determined to be a typical Cat Safari experience.

Alayne’s Cat Safari™ reserves the right to trial new features and vary the Cat Safari experience in any way, shape or form.

Newtown (Register at for details), Wellington
Feb 18-19, 2pm
Feb 17-19, 6pm 

Theatre , Outdoor ,

Modest aims charmingly achieved

Review by Cassandra Tse 19th Feb 2017

As a person who loves both cats and promenade theatre, I was highly anticipating Making Friends Collective’s latest production and crossing my fingers that the show would go ahead after the first and second performances were cancelled due to inclement weather. Happily, the rain cleared for the third performance, and revealed a sweet, funny, if not overly ambitious little show about an oddball following her dreams. 

As the title implies, Alayne’s Cat Safari has the small audience join safari leader Alayne (Alayne Dick) for a guided expedition through the streets of Newtown looking for new feline friends. Alayne loves cats and figures she knows more about the ones in her neighbourhood than anyone else; though WINZ and her dad might not think that running a cat safari is a ‘real job’, Alayne is determined to turn her passion into a career.

Merely walking around searching for cats for an hour would not be enough to sustain the interest of most audience members, though in our group we did have one participant who seemed unaware that the outing was actually a theatre show, and wandered off to look for more cats in the middle of the play’s climax. For the rest of us, Making Friends Collective have added in numerous entertaining interruptions in the form of a cast of quirky characters.

These include fitness-obsessed, synergy-promoting angel investor Al (Johnny Crawford), who checks in on Alayne with ridiculous business strategies throughout the safari, and Alayne’s rival, Maria of Maria’s Feline Expedition (Maria Williams), who claims to have an exclusive contract with most of the local cats. 

The offbeat, slightly absurdist comedy of the show often comes from the fact that Alayne’s Cat Safari takes place in a reality just a little bit weirder than our own, where cats have booking agents and run mindfulness workshops on the weekends, and Al has time to sit in a sensory deprivation chamber for a few minutes as he comes up with new catchphrases that are sure to “viral”.

The show has an improvisatory feel throughout (although many parts of it are scripted), and Alayne spends much of the tour chatting with the guests on various cat-related topics. Without ever breaking out of her earnest, naive character, Dick skilfully keeps the conversation bubbling along and gently leads overly talkative guests back on track.

Part of the fun of public space promenade theatre is the is-this-real-or-isn’t-it mix of staged events and genuine interactions, and most of the actors commit fully to performing their enjoyably silly roles in naturalistic styles that could seem at home in either setting. An exception is Crawford. it takes me a little while to get used to his more mannered performance style. Despite this, he gets some of the play’s funniest lines.

My favourite moments of the show are the small incidents that happen in the distance or in the ‘background’ of another scene, such as Maria trying to sneak past the tour as she runs through the dog-free park Alayne has casually pointed out to us, or Al taking a less-than-graceful tumble off a slide as he calls in via walkie-talkie. These little moments help create the feeling that the entire world is part of the show, and I would love to see more of these built into the play to maximise the potential of its promenade form. 

Ultimately this is a show that has modest aims and achieves them; a charming story about one woman’s determination to do a job she loves and get WINZ off her back – and of course, cat appreciation. I would like to see it developed further, as I think this world and these characters have more room to grow. 


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