An Almighty Yes

BATS Theatre, Studio, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

27/02/2024 - 02/03/2024

New Athenaeum Theatre, 24 The Octagon, Dunedin

14/03/2024 - 16/03/2024

NZ Fringe Festival 2024

Dunedin Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

Written and performed by: Emma Lange
Written + Directed + Co Created by: Jason Smith
Music + Video Production: Jason Smith
Choreography: Shona McCullagh and Ann Dewey

Emma Lang a dang Productions

Emma Lange a dang Productions has a core of joy with a focus on connecting with people using comedy (mainly). Founded by Emma Lange it does not shy away from tough stuff and loves to obliquely find fun where there is none.

An Almighty Yes – a one-hour solo comedy with pathos about cancer schmancer, by Emma Lange.

An original one-hour solo show combining absurdist comedy with music, audience participation and honest testimony, co-written and directed by Emmy-nominated composer Jason Smith. A theatrical uplift for anyone experiencing big life challenges, this is a bittersweet story of the surprising and joyful things that can happen to someone, even in the face of the worst possible news.

The Studio BATS Theatre, presented by NZ Fringe Festival 2024
Tuesday 28 February – Saturday 2 March 2024
Tickets $18-22


An original one-hour solo show combining absurdist comedy with music, audience participation and honest testimony, co-written and directed by Emmy-nominated composer Jason Smith


New Athenaeum Theatre, 23 The Octagon, Dunedin

14, 15 & 16 March at 6pm

Tickets: $16.00 – $20.00

Written and performed by: Emma Lange

Written + Directed + Co Created by: Jason Smith
Music + Video Production: Jason Smith
Costumes + Props: Emma Lange
Choreography : Shona McCullagh and Ann Dewey
Marketing + Publicity: Leah McFall (Wellington publicist) and Gabrielle Gibson
Slide Production: Creature Post + Simon Elson

Comedy , Solo , Theatre ,

60 minutes

A Song and a (Dirty) Dance Make a New Kind of Cancer Narrative in An Almighty Yes

Review by Ellen Murray 15th Mar 2024

In an intimate black box at the New Athenaeum Theatre, Emma Lange launched the 2024 Dunedin Fringe Festival with humour, heart, and hilarity. Currently living with brain cancer, Lange leads her audience through the facets of her diagnosis and life with her tumour, whom she personifies via sock puppet and has generously chosen to befriend.

The house was full, and the audience engaged—laughing along with Lange’s jokes and encroachments past a nonexistent fourth wall. Lange’s humour careens between parody, crowd work, dark humour, raunch, dadaist anti-jokes, physical comedy, and camp, and she excels in all aspects.

Her physical comedy and character work are especially striking. Lange opens the show as the bible-thumping pentecostal Deaconess Fanny Bribery, with an impeccable Southern American accent that this Georgia-born reviewer can vouch for. Throughout the show, her powerful vocal dynamics and physicality carry each bit and transformation.

During transitions, a screen plays parody videos created by Lange. We see her sock puppet tumour’s faithful stalking underscored by “Every Breath You Take,” spoof commercials straight out of the 90s during a faux-intermission, and a titillating romance between Lange as a damsel in distress and the handsome doctor begging to craniotomy her.

These videos are a highlight and provide Lange with the time to change costumes backstage, but given her relationship-building with the audience and wonderful physicality, I did wonder if the show’s energy could be further enhanced by keeping her on stage for these transitions.

At times, Lange becomes marginally serious, instructing the audience to take out pen and paper to learn about the realities of brain cancer and cancer in general. In one striking moment, she delivers an emotional monologue about the day of her diagnosis via voice-over, with her words projected onto a screen. The lights are dim, and Lange’s absence from the stage enhances the vulnerability of the moment.

But she quickly returns to her signature wit. An Almighty Yes is not a typical cancer narrative marked by melancholy. The audience cannot expect catharsis at the end of the show. Instead, Lange leads by doing, celebrating being alive through her vivacious performance and affirming the powers of gratitude, positivity, and comedy without becoming preachy.

Lange’s interactions with the audience create an even more intimate and immediate environment. When she isn’t instructing volunteers to feed her tiramisu or give her a back massage, she’s teasing the crowd, spritzing us with a spray bottle like bad cats.

Like all great comedies, An Almighty Yes ends with a wedding between Lange and her blow-up doll, ex-navy, Dirty Dancing fiancé. An audience member that Lange dresses as David Attenborough officiates the affair. 

With Lange and her new husband off to their reception, the show was over almost too soon, the audience reluctant to leave the space. Lange’s undeniable wit and talent for video production will surely help this project continue on past the Dunedin Fringe Festival, whether in future stage productions or digital platforms.


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Illustrates an attitude, a lesson and a message 

Review by Margaret Austin 28th Feb 2024

Emma Lange has lots of friends. I like to ask audience members why they’ve come to the show and in the case of An Almighty Yes, about to begin in BATS Dome, the answers are, “I come from Dunedin too”, “We were in a play together” and “She was head girl at Southland Girls’ High”. Hmmm – I was a head girt once, and I know where such beginnings may lead. 

Enter our performer. Or should I say Deaconess Fanny Bribery – a holy roller if ever there was one, complete with large plastic crucifix and bucketloads of advice and admonition for us sinners out here. She’s remarkably convincing as a recruiter for God and we take her seriously amid gales of laughter. She informs us she’s is here to act as a holy enema (ouch!) before disappearing.

Now we meet Emma – in woolly dressing gown and slippers. Her offering is low key and humble compared to her loudly proclaiming predecessor. She wants to fill us in on the history of cancer, a disease she knows only too intimately, and which is the theme of her performance. Her information about this life-threatening disease is startling to say the least, and I’m guessing we’re the only ones to know. 

Lange’s versatility becomes more and more evident in successive appearances and different garbs. We have onscreen tumour titbits to entertain us between times. A male companion enters the picture – Donny is a larger-than-life figure and I can see in a flash why Emma is enamoured. High jinks include a dance – and guess who’s leading? This is one of several comic highlights and demonstrates the panache that generally characterises this show. The return of the holy roller deaconess is welcome – she has a special ceremony to perform.

We get an audience participation climax par excellence with a host of friends (by now we all are) onstage and treating our recovered star as she deserves. 

An Almighty Yes illustrates an attitude, a lesson and a message. This is how to treat cancer I’m thinking. Pelt it with this kind of joyous optimism and it won’t stand a chance.

An Almighty Yes presents a very special performance on Wednesday 28 February honouring Wellingtonians coping with tough times. Join us for a show acknowledging and celebrating people living with cancer and other serious or rare diseases, their families, carers, and the health professionals who support them. It is a show that demonstrates the power of the mind to maintain optimism and positivity in the face of the worst kind of news. And it is immensely joyful. 

This special performance supports Rare Disorders NZ 

Use discount code YES10 for $10 tickets for the 28 February show.


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