Basement Theatre Studio, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

09/10/2012 - 13/10/2012

Production Details

Toi Whakaari graduates Emma Fenton and Phoebe Hurst combine forces to bring you Silke’s Big Day Out and Kung Faux: Call of The Siren, two original solo shows, first conceived out of The Go Solo Season at Toi Whakaari in 2011.

Silke’s Big Day Out (Emma Fenton) is centred on a girl named Silke I met while in New York. She was still, dark, mysterious and I often found her very comedic. Basically… I wanted to be like her. So began my quest into finding my own character of Silke and show what would ‘normally’ be considered an ordinary day with perfect hair and oversized boots.”

Imagine if Borat was an incredibly deadpan Eastern European determined to have a Samantha from Sex and the City experience in New York and you’ve just about got it. Just about … Silke is bizarre but brilliant. Her adventures and guide to getting a “hot boy” had everyone in stitches. – Phoebe Smith, Theatreview 

Kung Faux: Call of The Siren (Phoebe Hurst) was inspired by my Dad’s love of Bruce Lee films and my love of Beastie Boys video clips and fake moustaches. What came out was Mike Fordstaff, the wannabe cop. This is my personal homage to all things hammy and wonderful. Underneath my three years of sensible actor training, lies a true ham at heart.”

“…Hurst is utterly confident and comfortable with her piece, her characters and the audience and is a comic genius! …This is genuine laugh-out-loud and keep-getting-louder material. I look forward to seeing lots more in the future.” – Helen Sims, Theatreview

Big Mouths plays at the Basement Theatre Studio
Tuesday 9th October – Saturday 13th October at 7pm
Tickets: $18/ $14 (service fees apply)
Tickets available through

Strong characters could go further

Review by Stephen Austin 10th Oct 2012

I’ll keep this brief, since that seems to be the order of business for this company.

Two solo works, by Toi Whakaari graduates Phoebe Hurst and Emma Fenton.

Kung Faux: Call of the Siren features Hurst in full Beastie Boys undercover cop garb, pulling out all the overacting stops as Mike Fordstaff, wannabe cop.  Inspired his father’s love of by Bruce Lee, he goes out on his own brand of up-holding the law and we meet him recruiting a bunch of rookies into the ranks.  He recalls past jobs, loves and losses, all while bouncing of the walls (literally, most of the time). 

There is plenty of pop-culture referencing fun and lots of hard-boiled strong-jawed writing, with a Kiwi twang.  Hurst finds a neat way to introduce her feminity into the role, with brief snatches of pre-trance music vocals and by cleverly using swift mid-sentence flipping of Aviator sunglasses on and off her face. 

Emma Fenton introduces us to the oddly still, decidedly quirky Silke in Silke’s Big Day Out.  Of unidentifiably Eastern European descent, often scowling, always on the look-out for a boyfriend, she looks like she has been dropped into a heavy day jacket, black leggings and heavy boots, with a tiny head of cropped hair barely poking out the top. 

Based on observations by Fenton while in New York, the work finds its form by imparting stories through the use of slides, to interpret setting, and a myriad of props – hilariously wrangled by Technical Operator, Steve Chudley – to highlight the awkward, alien world that Silke finds herself lost in everyday.

Both works could use a bit of fleshing out, since both together total just short of 40 minutes, including set change between works; maybe a few more emotional obstacles for characters to tackle or simply drop them into situations way outside their comfort zone. 

With a bit of work, each could easily stand up as a full piece in its own right, in any respectable fringe festival environment, as it is clear both performers have strong commitment and ethic to their work which always carries good characters a long way.  


Make a comment

Big Ups

Review by Matt Baker 10th Oct 2012

Developing third year solo pieces is becoming an increasingly viable option for recent drama school graduates. Such is the case with Toi Whakaari grads Phoebe Hurst and Emma Fenton’s double bill show Big Mouths, but where others have stretched their content into an hour-long full-length production or a feature film script, Hurst and Fenton have kept to their 20-minute circumscription.

Kicking off with Kung Faux: Call of The Siren, Hurst bursts onto stage in an instantly recognisable and programme-referenced Beastie Boys ‘Sabotage’ homage. As Mike Fordstaff, Hurst is an amalgamation of Ron Swanson, Ron Burgundy, and Heath Franklin’s Chopper, and …

Following a quick prop set-up which leaves the stage relatively vacant once more, Fenton enters and immediately establishes her titular character in Silke’s Big Day Out. Like Hurst, Fenton has a very specific style of comedy which she honours to the nth degree … [More]  


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council