Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

12/09/2017 - 16/09/2017

BATS Theatre, The Heyday Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

03/10/2017 - 07/10/2017

BATS Theatre, The Propeller Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

13/02/2018 - 17/02/2018

Production Details

Created and performed by Johanna Cosgrove



Winner of Best Comedy at the Auckland Fringe 2017, AUNTY returns to Basement Theatre this September more outrageous than ever. This one woman tornado is an homage to the Aunties we love, and love to hate.

As the sav starts pouring, new boyfriends are lovingly embarrassed, everyone in the audience is part of the whanau. The yarns are spun and drama ensues as we begin to question the attitudes and relationships with our own family.

Johanna Cosgrove, one half of ‘Nope Sisters’ and Toi Whakaari graduate, created AUNTY as a loving wake up call, saying, “I wanted to start a conversation around what’s often left unsaid at the family BBQ.”

“Johanna Cosgrove is a non-stop monologue of thoughts, insults, memories, compliments, complaints and wine-sculling.” –Theatreview Feb 2017

AUNTY plays
Basement Theatre
12 – 16 Sept 6:30pm
Tickets: $15 – $22
Bookings: or phone iTicket 09 361 1000

“Aunty regales her captive audience with a loosely-connected, easily diverted string of generally hilarious anecdotes,… it is impressive how much laugh-out-loud humour Cosgrove manages to extract from the most seemingly banal subject matter.” –Theatreview Sept 2017

AUNTY plays
Heyday Dome at BATS Theatre 1 Kent Terrace
3 – 7 October 2017
Tickets: $15 – $20
Book online at or call (04) 802 4175

BATS Theatre Propeller Stage
13 – 17 February 2018

Theatre , Solo , Comedy ,

1 hr

An entertaining and thought-provoking exposé of family

Review by Zoe Joblin 04th Oct 2017

AUNTY is set at a family barbeque where the audience doubles as the guests and are encouraged to BYO snacks, booze and durries. The theatre is dressed with a plain trestle table laid with supermarket snacks; bunting lines the walls and fairy lights are strung across the roof.

Aunty (Johanna Cosgrove) enters to 80s rock ballads, wearing a dressing gown and a towel wrapped around her head and invites us into her world of middle New Zealand.

Aunty is the one and only star of the show and is a beautiful portrayal of a lot of Kiwi women. From the puppy dog eyes she uses to ask members of the audience to refill her wine glass, to the exaggerated physicality that ages Cosgrove believably into middle age, she gives a compelling and intelligent performance. 

As both creator and performer, Cosgrove describes the show as a “loving wake up call to start a conversation around what’s often left unsaid at the family BBQ.” Produced by Lauren Andrews with the assistance of Two Productions, the show boasts a sell-out season at Basement Theatre in Auckland and winner of ‘Best Comedy’ at the Auckland Fringe Festival this year. 

The show centres around anecdotes and reminiscences of the titular character with mentions of her family and questionable connections to famous New Zealanders. Cosgrove’s comedic timing is wonderful and the audience gleefully meets Aunty’s invitations into conga lines, impromptu songs and banter. 

As the show progresses it feels in need of more narrative. Aunty returns to the absence of her daughter Shannon and maligns her indisposed husband Derek throughout. The only expansion we get on her feelings about this are frequent “Fuck”s, an all-too-familiar drunken rage and the line, “You couldn’t pay me to hang out with my kids,” which is delivered with aching pathos.

Cosgrove has the ability to access a wide range of emotions within this character which the audience will happily engage with if given the chance. AUNTY is an entertaining and thought-provoking exposé of family; well worth checking out.


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Fun Appetiser

Review by Tim George 13th Sep 2017

Aunty, a solo show by Johanna Cosgrove, feels more like a party than a show. It is the foundation of its success, and a symptom of a fundamental flaw.

But first, the good stuff.

At the centre of the festivities is Aunty, an obnoxious, self-absorbed but loving woman, who has managed to pull her entire extended family (the audience) together for an overdue family reunion. [More]


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Much laugh-out-loud humour

Review by Nik Smythe 13th Sep 2017

Although I did clock the fact that all the promotional copy for this production puts the title AUNTY in all capitals, it didn’t hold any real significance at first.  Having now met/observed/beheld Johanna Cosgrove’s formidable, gregarious, potty-mouthed character Aunty, it’s clear that capitals barely do her sociably capricious bombast justice; an exclamation mark or three wouldn’t go amiss either. 

The Basement Theatre studio space is set in three-quarter round, with a couple of old rugs on the ‘original’ wood floor and a trestle table laid with a hospital-green cloth on which Aunty and guests place their plates of edible goodies – chips and dips, bickies and sticks (carrot & celery), and Aunty’s own signature Dunedin Cheese Rolls. Liquid refreshments comprise a couple of wine casks, and a bottle (flash!). 

We are all guests at Aunty and her second husband Tony’s annual whanau knees-up, although Tony stays downstairs on Bluetooth DJ duty, nursing his unpleasant sounding spinal cord injuries. All ‘hostess-with-the-mostest’ in spite of never changing out of her head-towel, bathrobe, socks and jandals, and plastic-rimmed children’s shades, Cosgrove is just as happy fielding increasingly familial remarks from the audience as she is dictating the proceedings. 

Clearly in her element at the centre of our universe, Aunty regales her captive audience with a loosely-connected, easily diverted string of generally hilarious anecdotes from her formative Dunedin years to her present life in Henderson. Making sure to check points of personal pride, like being related to a certain prominent political figure, it is impressive how much laugh-out-loud humour Cosgrove manages to extract from the most seemingly banal subject matter. 

I lost count of exactly how many white wines she downs during the hour’s festivities, typically poured by one of her ‘favourite’ nephews at her languorously earnest behest, but it’s easily well into double figures. Occasional enquiries as to whether anyone’s heard from her daughter Linda are momentary indications that she’s not in quite as total control as her brash ‘don’t-give-a-fuck’ demeanour implies. 

In conceptual terms a comparison can be drawn to Yvette Parson’s original dark comedy Silent Night, with key differences among the similarities: Irene is alone and delusionally optimistic that people will come to her party whereas we’re all present at Aunty’s shindig, and although she’ll wilfully play the victim in the moment to get her own way, Aunty is nobody’s doormat.  


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