St Kevin's Arcade / Myers Park / The Basement, Auckland

22/02/2013 - 23/02/2013

Auckland Fringe 2013

Production Details


When it comes to theatre, what you see shouldn’t always be what you get. 

On the 22nd and 23rd of February only award winning events company Celery Productions (producers of Art in the Dark & The Triumphants) presents its inaugural immersive storytelling extravaganza. 

Celery Productions and The Basement are joining their juggernaut creative forces to get audiences out of their seats and into the streets. 

With Celery Stories, the concept of seeing a play will never be the same again. The audience will be presented with a theatrical world where they will become collaborators rather than spectators. 

On a Journey through Auckland’s backyard – from St Kevin’s Arcade, through Myers Park and then into The Basement – the stage could be a park bench, the stranger standing next to you could have the leading role and survival packs will be provided, of course. Use them wisely. 

Loosely based on a fairy tale that will become clear as the journey progresses Celery will use every resource under their belt. Stand by to witness shadow puppets, projections, special effects and performances like no other. 

Celery Stories. Unexpected, expected. 

Auckland Fringe runs from 15 February to 10 March 2013. For more Auckland Fringe information go to www.aucklandfringe.co.nz

Dates: 22nd and 23rd February, 8:30pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Venue: Myers Park / The Basement
Tickets: $15
Bookings: iTicket – www.iticket.co.nz / 09 361 1000

1 hr

Anarchic Fairy Tales in the Dark

Review by James Wenley 25th Feb 2013

At the same time as the Lantern Festival lit up Albert Park, Myers Park came to life in quite a different way as a procession of Fairytale characters and creatures prowled its grounds. Myers Park has been associated with Auckland Fringe since the Festival’s original launch in 2009 and has played a part in reclaiming the park – often avoided – for the public. Inheriting the Myers Park mantle from 2011’s When Animals Dream of Sheep, Celery Productions’ Ella Mizrahi and Celia Harrison (the brains behind Ponsonby Park’s popular Art in the Dark) have teamed with collaborators from The Basement theatre to produce promenade theatre Celery Stories which is at times magical, gleeful, anarchic, and frustrating. 

We gather at the St Kevin’s Arcade entrance to Myers Park where we are hepfully sprayed for the “giant” mosquitoes that lurk below. After a wait, Bruce Hopkins, wearing a muscle-chest suit, announces himself. He reads us a ‘Once upon a time’ story about a “merry band of travellers” who ventured into a strange world (that at times felt like they had partaken of the “electric pooha”) and faced encounters with characters like a lone and mischievous piper, seven short and hairy men, and a red-hooded “waif”. [More


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Magical spectacle and streetwise satire

Review by Nik Smythe 23rd Feb 2013

A sizeable crowd of eclectic Fringe-style aficionados convene in St Kevin’s Arcade, appropriately about the closest thing to a fairy tale castle (that isn’t a church) around uptown Auckland.  At the front-of-house each patron is provided a goody-bag/survival-kit containing a liquorice allsort, a map, a compass and a slice of baguette.

Ten minutes after the 8.30 start-time (apparently a festival tradition), a green-suited chap in a trilby and shades calls the crowd to gather round and hear as he reads us his stirring tale:  Once upon a while ago a cluster of folk not unlike the one gathered here, gathered in a similar sort of place and, following a sound descended into the neighbouring parkland. There they beheld a series of remarkable sights, stories and intriguing characters whose descriptions match many of the better known Western-European folktales of our own childhoods. 

Next thing we know we’re being urged down the many flights of stairs through the arcade and into Myers Park.  There, by some magical coincidence, all the aforementioned archetypes reveal themselves in turn, unfolding their familiar anecdotes with a liberally satirical twist. 

Heralded forth by an earnest, chatty German tourist I presume to be Hansel, we encounter, among other familiar oddballs: a surprisingly young, fit and rather camp tiara-clad emperor smugly strutting his latest collection of (non-existent) duds; seven busy singing caretakers in hi-vis waistcoats, one sleepy, one sneezy et al; a particularly Gothic-horror style scene involving a young lass in a red hood and a vicious wolf masquerading as her Nana. 

Celery Productions’ intrepid design crew has made excellent use of the available space in Auckland’s most central park and recreation area.  Visual highlights include an impressive giant magic-mirror face (with flaming eyes!) projected against a large tree, the coldly lit witches lair/playground area, and a solemn, sultry singing blue mermaid. 

There’s plenty more going on besides what I’ve mentioned here; being drawn along with a crowd of at least a couple of hundred by my estimation, it’s hard to know how many classic moments I missed without comparing my journey with others elsewhere in the crowd. 

I did witness one unfortunate technical fiasco when another wolf’s leaf blower failed to start during his mission to blow his little piggy pal ‘Ralph’ away in his two-man dome tent.

Overall, though, it’s a fairly successful result for the sizeable company’s somewhat ambitious exposé, stretching the length of the park to conclude at a Prince’s ball beneath the overbridge, then on to the after-party in the Bouncy Castle on the Basement forecourt. 

I understand it’s Celery’s largest scale production to date.  With their evident bounty of talent and drive I fully expect that, with the lessons learned this time round, they should be creating even more truly magnificent works in future, combining their potent ingredients of magical spectacle and streetwise satire. 


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