BATS Theatre, Studio, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

10/03/2018 - 13/03/2018

NZ Fringe Festival 2018 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

I tell you, it’s almost impossible to find E-cup seashells anywhere. I blame the universalising nature of limited media representation – thanks Ariel.

From the underworld, to the fairy glen, to BATS! All Shapes & Sirens goes below and beyond in exploring all the nooks and crannies of body image.

Through a party-mix bag of vignettes, this devised work plays in the realm of the imaginary creature, where sasquatch and siren might just meet for a D’n’M over a coffee.

The Creative Team
Fondle the Orange is a freshly-squeezed theatre company: good for the soul, pulpy, high in fibre.

BATS Theatre The Studio
10 – 13 March 2018
at 9:30pm
Full Price $18 | Concession Price $14 
Fringe Addict Cardholder $13 

*Access to The Studio is via stairs, so please contact the BATS Box Office at least 24 hours in advance if you have accessibility requirements so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.

Theatre ,

1 hr

Contagious energy

Review by Margaret Austin 11th Mar 2018

This show opens at BATS Studio to a full house. It professes to be about “body positivity” which is supposed to be “an exponentially growing movement”, according to director Sarah Burton’s programme note.

To get to your seat in the Studio, you have to cross the stage. The technical operator, Liam Kelly, is in full view. His apparent somewhat plump nakedness, I’m guessing, is in tune with the theme of the show.

Something admirable is early signalled by an artfully slow illuminating of the still empty stage, and tuneful, audible singing coming from behind it.

Sarah Burton, El Yule, Emilie Hope and Raych Graham are our performers. And here’s my only criticism: they’re all tall, long legged, luscious young women. To say nothing of the fact that they’re gorgeously attired in vividly coloured bra and pantie sets that could grace any underwear ad.  

But this is a show professedly about body image. Where are the other female body shapes?  And, while we’re about it, what about the men? (Well, there’s Liam.)

That said, though, this is a show to exult in. It’s fresh, exuberant and sexy. We get solo appearances from each woman, tailored I suspect to individual interests. They’re university students, and one of them puts her study of Shakespeare to good use. Her parody of one of the sonnets is brilliant: “I am rare / For to myself alone do I compare.”

Another, dressed in an intriguing grey onesie, gives us her morning toilette routine, complete with pimple squeezing. A black cloaked skull bearing figure ruminates on death. There’s a pas de deux of seductive innocence performed in bras and tutus. Teeth are described as “the showgirls of your laugh”.

And I can’t leave out the tap dance – by a bowler hatted, lurex clad dancer, all the more effective because we can’t see her face. 

Men aren’t completely excluded though. Their presence is represented by a lone recorded voice, somewhat plaintive, but stoic, that puts up a brave front.

It’s refreshing to see female sexuality celebrated so openly, joyously and naturally. The energy is contagious – the performance gets a standing ovation and the audience spills onto the stage to mix with and congratulate the performers. 

There may have been a message – but I can’t pick one. And I don’t care. 


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