Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

28/08/2013 - 31/08/2013

BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

22/02/2013 - 09/03/2013

NZ Fringe Festival 2013

Production Details

It’s not just a show. It’s a movement. 

From the makers of (N)one Down (The Pit Bar, 2010) comes an ensemble confessional comedy. Using only genuine original embarrassing artefacts from our own pasts, a collective of performers will make you laugh, cringe, and cry as the expose their lamest secrets.

Over three weekends, School for Gifted Children will present six late-night laughter guaranteed shows at BATS Theatre.

Each weekend is themed, to provide maximum content variety and hopefully encourage repeat audience attendance.

Based on Seattle’s “Salon of Shame”, founded by Ariel Meadow Stallings.

A taster from the three themes: 

Hadley Donaldson’s 4 page fan latter to Claire Danes he wrote when he was at Wanganui Collegiate; Alice May Connolly’s poetry to Leonardo DiCaprio; Alex Lodge profiles herself for a teen magazine (“favourite beverage: water”)

Rose Young’s diary about Mel Brown (“Mel’s mum told me to stop calling the cat a slut”); Nell Williams’ teen rap crew The Double Es

Nick Zwart gets the girl. Cherie Jacobson chronicles her love for herself.

Each show hosted by Jean Sergent, who will be sharing some of her own shame as well. 

This 10.45pm Friday and Saturday night show will be the perfect late night laugh for anyone who loves shame, voyeurism, laughter, over sharing and too much information! 

BATS Theatre
Feb 22nd and 23rd,
March 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th

Tuesday 28 – Saturday 31 August 2013

The line-ups:

Tuesday 27th: Elisabeth Easther, Eli Matthewson, Joseph Harper, Bryony Skillington

Wednesday 28th: Kelsey Harvey, Benji Stone, Sam Brooks

Thursday: Jack Riddell, Rose Young, Cam Yates, Amber Molloy

Friday: Rose Matafeo, Nic Sampson, Sophie Henderson, Phoebe Trezevant

Saturday: Freya Desmarais, Amelia Reynolds, Joseph Harper, Morgan Albrecht

Riveting, raw and somehow healing

Review by Candice Lewis 29th Aug 2013

Before coming to the show I tell my English friend I have no idea what it will entail, but that it’s being put on by ‘gifted children’ reading from their diaries.  I ponder that they will possibly be intellectually disabled (my interpretation of ‘gifted’). Once we get there and observe the young people on-stage, I re-assess the situation.

‘Caribou’ by the Pixies provides the aural back-drop, and the stage area is dressed as a cheerful, flowery living room with various props evoking child-hood.  The lighting (Amber Molloy) keeps it cosy and intimate. 

MC Jean Sergent is chatting to the audience from the out-set, setting the tone of over-sharing right from the start. Each show features different people reading excerpts from their child hood or teenage diary entries and the results are heart breaking and hilarious in equal measure. I can’t remember when I laughed this much and yet felt so much love for people I ‘don’t know’. 

It certainly raises questions about privacy – perhaps the rise of social media and blogging has changed the way we regard our embarrassments?

Tonight’s brave performances start with Rose Young from Wellington. She describes Lower Hutt as being a place where the middle class and the malnourished meet, and it’s with warmth and amazement as she describes her child hood friendship with a girl called Mel. Mel’s dad teaches Rose how to ‘stab someone properly’ when she’s 10, and how to break a window without cutting yourself on the glass. The diary entries themselves are along the lines of ‘my dad is so bald’, and being told that if she didn’t kiss a boy by the time she was 13 she was ‘a lez’. 

Next up is Sam Brooks, and he shares with us his obsessive love for a ‘straight boy’ when he was 14 years old. Sam struggles with his stutter, yet the stuttering and shaking really match the vulnerability of what he’s sharing. The heat and sorrow of unrequited love is something we can all relate to; it somehow lessens the sting of how cringe-worthy I find my own teenage diaries. I absolutely love the fact that he created a ‘shrine’ to this boy. I’m laughing and nearly crying at the same time, and the rest of the audience are gasping in empathy. 

Kelsey Harvey shares a precocious poem she wrote when she was eight, and then Ben Walton finishes with various entries pertaining to his torrid love life. Walton’s last year of primary school is hilarious; I especially liked the entry that read, “Had a tantrum over my hair today. I don’t know why.”

By the time he’s in high school and has moved on from girls to his first experience with a boy he writes “I am a slut” and that this new love “looks better in real life than he does on Myspace.”  

I have kept diaries since I was eight years old, and I find the show riveting. My English friend is also laughing and enjoying it immensely – and she has never kept a diary. The magic of this kind of evening is that it’s a one off, it’s raw and it’s somehow healing. I want to go back and see more.  I don’t know who will share next time, whether it can live up to this great night, but I would certainly take a chance and strongly recommend that you do the same!


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Hilariously genuine

Review by Fiona McNamara 23rd Feb 2013

Corner Diary is a late-night laugh – the perfect way to chill out after dashing between Fringe shows, or to liven up your Friday night drinks. 

Four performers, MC’d by the self-titled Shame Shaman, Jean Sergent, share the deepest, darkest, strangest (and in the case of this weekend’s theme, straightest) moments of their past selves, by reading their own diary entries, love letters and fan mail to seventy people who have shown up to spend their Friday night revelling in some Schadenfreude.

The idea came from Seattle writer Ariel Meadow Stallings’ Salon of Shame diary readings. This is the second season of Corner Diary in Wellington, and I hope there will be more. This series, for Fringe, runs over three weekends, each focusing on a different topic: ‘Love’, ‘Fame’ and ‘Friendship’. This first ‘Love’-themed show features the love of an eighteen-year-old girl for her boyfriend, the love of a 20-something-year-old boy for the girl he wants to be his girlfriend, the love of a twelve-year-old girl for herself and the love of a thirteen-year-old boy’s self-created imaginary stalker for himself.

Cherie Jacobsen reveals her twelve-year-old dream of writing in a diary in the hope that it would be published, make her famous and “people will wonder in awe about it.” I guess, in a way, she’s succeeded. Her twelve-year-self would probably have been stoked to know that people paid money to hear her words read on stage.

Freya Desmarais tells us about when she and a boy at school called Jordan declared their “unadulterated love” for one another, when Jordan had “pretty much broken up with Jo.” The high point of their relationship was when Jordan stayed at her house for a week “with a bottle of rum,” which showed “so much commitment […] When I have my first boyfriend the potential in that is endless.”

The prize for the most bizarre is a toss up between Nick Zwart and Jake Preval’s contributions to the show. Jake Preval reveals that as a thirteen-year-old, he loved a girl at his school – “Lola” – so much that he was compelled to create a stalker to write him love letters to make Lola jealous. The love letters would turn up in various places, such as his locker, until he was one day snapped posting them in his own letterbox. The letters include such gems as “your hair is so soft, yet so hard” and compliments on his tight white cricket pants.

Nick Zwart reads the letters he wrote, and posted, to the girl he loves, with part one entitled “Darwin has a place for flies.” That so much of this letter is still so current makes this a hand-biting, painfully hilarious finale.  

Fringe is the time to see a variety of performance forms and I can certainly recommend adding Corner Diary to your calendar. The performers are brave and the content is hilariously genuine. It will make you feel much better about the person you used to be.

A little further editing of the entries would have made the show tighter, and created some more changes in pace; I felt some of the readings went on too long.  However, any criticism is easily countered by the words of one die-hard fan, who asked me afterwards, “How do you review something so perfect?”


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