BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

05/04/2022 - 08/04/2022

NZ Fringe Festival 2022

Production Details

Created and written by Jackson Burling
Codirected by Jackson Burling and Bella Petrie

Brick Haus Productions

What happens when you mix four highschool lads, too much to drink, and the Remutaka Hills?

As the boys pull themselves out of the wreckage and find themselves completely stranded in the wops, how will they pass the time with no reception, and no sign of rescue?

Boys, Wake Up! addresses the 40% of fatal road accidents that involve alcohol and drugs, the high numbers of youth involved in these accidents, and the link our binge drinking culture has to toxic masculinity.

Darkly funny, confronting, and crucial – the forest is cold, and the silence can be deafening.

BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Terrace
Tuesday 05 – Friday 8 March 2022
General Admission $20.00
Concession $15.00
Fringe Addict $16.00
Ticket + $5 $25.00
Ticket + $10 $30.00

Content forecast: Alcohol Use, Sexual Assault, Death, Misogyny

Brick Haus Productions is a new and diverse production company striving to produce theatre that brings important, relevant messages to the forefront for those who need to hear them. The group are all young adults highly inspired by the community of the Te Whanganui-a-Tara region and wider Aotearoa.

Brick Haus thrives on devising collaboratively to create forward thinking, contemporary and experimental work with a Kiwi twist. Founding members Bella Petrie, Genoveva Reverte, Bon Buchanan, Graxe Hadfield and Caleb Pedro formed the company in their final year of drama school after recognising that the best way for them to get work in the arts industry was for them to make their own.

Further than this, the team wanted to help other young artists just like Burling to be able to get their own incredible art off the ground and out to audiences. Alongside Burling and Brick Haus’ Caleb Pedro you can also see performances from newly graduated actors Isaac Andrews and Renata Mahuika. Brick Haus is so proud to be assisting this incredibly talented and passionate team in bringing Boys, Wake Up! to the BATS stage this Fringe.

Jackson Burling
Caleb Pedro
Isaac Andrews
Renata Mahuika

Theatre ,

50 mins

Sharply focussed and emotionally confronting

Review by Lynn Bushell 06th Apr 2022

Boys, Wake Up! places a sharp focus on the harm caused by alcohol/waipiro in this thought-provoking and emotionally confronting tragedy. There’s a stark warning for all teenagers in playwright Jackson Burling’s exploration of toxic masculinity in the binge drinking culture and the cost of not speaking up until it’s too late.  

The show opens with a bare black-box stage illuminated by a single spot which directs our attention to a rambling voice-over which initially seems like a bad housekeeping message until we hear the words, “if he was here” and we realise we are at a funeral. 

Time regresses as into this sombre opening burst four young men, all drunk, partying hard and boasting of their sexual prowess: Jamie (Jackson Burling) Ezra (Renata Mahuika), Cameron (Caleb Pedro), and Bradley (Isaac Andrews).

Post-party and driving home, their vehicle crashes and plunges down a steep mountainside. With no cell phone coverage, the boys elect to stay together rather than go and seek help. To keep their spirits up they play guessing games, share stories while tensions rise as home truths emerge.

The acting ensemble is excellent and vocal quality is good, although occasionally indistinct due to fast speech rate. All actors are believable as long-time friends, fun-loving, irresponsible and overconfident. Bradley gives a truly clear and engaging performance throughout as the moral compass of the quartet.

The rhythm flows well although the passivity of waiting to be rescued, which pervades the action, seems at odds with the enormity of the boy’s situation. As more than twenty-five cars pass the crash site their hope does not fade, nor does despair increase which, given the context, feels unusual.

The use of minimal props, apart from two tree stumps, allows for actor height variation, adding interest to the stage choreography. The wrecked on-stage car with headlights removed is highly effective, as is the use of bonnet-mounted lighting to simulate the car headlights when required.

The lighting and sound design support the story well with special highlights being the Dome lighting effects during the storm sequence and the ambient night and bush creature sounds.

There is an honesty in the story which provides very funny ‘boys will be boys’ moments, along with encountering a “non-human eating goat” and the misunderstandings when playing Truth-Truth-Lie, which reveals more than intended.

Congratulations to Jackson Burling for having the courage to tell us the truth and to Brick Haus Productions and BATS for supporting an emerging young playwright. 

I thoroughly recommend Boys, Wake Up! to all teenagers and their parents to open a dialogue around our drinking culture and its consequences.

There is so much more to this show to admire but, not wishing to be a plot spoiler, it is best that you book tickets and find out for yourself.

Don’t miss it.


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