Dan is Dead/I Am a Yeti

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

30/04/2011 - 07/05/2011

BATS Theatre, Wellington

10/05/2011 - 14/05/2011

NZ International Comedy Festival 2011

Production Details

“I pitched my screenplay to the Warner Brothers Film Commission of New Zealand and they are interested and they want to make it. And they’re going to pay me 2% in the back end” – YETI 

When a manipulative Yeti moves in with a couple on the rocks, pandemonium reigns in the suburban flat. From leaving clumps of mystical Yeti hair everywhere, to giving relationship advice, this she-Yeti is making an insidious impact on Tom and Yvette’s existence.

Told through the eyes of Yeti, an aspiring filmmaker, Dan is dead/I am a Yeti moves through melodrama to thriller to sketch comedy. It’s satirical, it’s sharp, it’s silly. It’s the sorry story of a Yeti trying to make it big and a couple trying to make it work. 

NZ’s most “ferocious comic talents” (Theatreview) Dan Musgrove and Natalie Medlock band together with Bruce Mason Playwright Nominee Thomas Sainsbury for the 2011 Comedy Festival to present a dark and absurd comedy about a Yeti trying to ‘make it’ in New Zealand.

Directed by Chapman Tripp Award-Winning Director Sophie Roberts (Mr. Marmalade, Blinkers, Dog Sees God: confessions of a teenage blockhead) and…

Starring the new nurse on Shorty St – Natalie Medlock – as Yeti, and Thomas Sainsbury (Joseph and Mahina, Idiots) and Yvette Parsons (Gas, Entertaining Mr Sloane) as Tom and Yvette, and a multitude of hilarious characters including: Bob Dylan, a turtle and Sir Ed himself.  

This sinister comedy is sure to be a hairy little treat.

Disturbing, demented and madly amusing; Dan is dead/I am a Yeti is about what comes between marriage, what gets hidden and what’s worth fighting for.  

THE BASEMENT, Lower Greys Ave, CBD
30 April-7 May
0800 TICKETEK (842 538) www.ticketek.co.nz

BATS THEATRE 1 Kent Terrace
10-14 May, 8.30pm.
(04) 802 4175  

55 mins, no interval

Method in delightful madness

Review by John Smythe 11th May 2011

It has been a long time since BATS hosted a play about flatmates. They used to be all too common. But one of the flatmates being a Yeti has got to be a first.

To call it idiosyncratic would be an understatement. It’s off the wall. A pure white Yeti – Natalie Medlock – has just completed the screenplay of her “rife” (she has a Nepaling accent), funded by the Warner Brother Film Commission of New Zealand. Now she wants to inspire us all with her “hairy tale come true”.

Just two weeks ago her rife was at wok bottom. While flatmate Yvette (Yvette Parsons) is happy to have Yeti there to sing to and stroke when she gets home from working at Rainbow’s End, her depressive husband Tom (Thomas Sainsbury) – they have just recently wed – feels Yeti is not contributing and has outstayed her welcome. He works for JB Hi-Fi where his main contribution is to bring down morale; a skill he also brings home.

This is a far cry from the heights Yeti reached when she led Edmund Hilary (Parsons) to the top of Everest long before Tom and Yvette were born. Obliged to face the ignominy of a WINZ interview, her case-manager Cliff (Sainsbury) stumbles across the WBFCNZ opportunity.

A clichéd American Assessor (Parsons) – who insists the ideas they develop cannot be clichéd – seals the deal and now Tom has to suffer the ignominy of observing Yeti’s fast-track to success when he, a scriptwriter too, has been slogging – and blogging – away for years, unnoticed and unappreciated.

They bond over Star Wars DVDs – Yeti’s love calls to Chewbacca are sublime – and Tom resuscitates his Hans Solo lookalike fantasy … But it gets out of hand and once more Yeti – who once met Chairman Mao (Sainsbury) in a disco! – is asked to leave.  

The jealousy of a Yeti is something else again, especially when she’s on heat, and you will have to see the show to see how it plays out. All I’ll add is Dave Dobbyn gets an offstage but crucial role.

Dan is Dead / I am a Yeti works brilliantly because the absurdist premise is played for real and taken to a logical conclusion, the story is very well structured and all the emotions are deeply felt. We laugh because they believe it and take themselves seriously (if they didn’t, we wouldn’t).

The comedy style is large, overt and conscious of its theatrical placing, yet the scenarios and the emotions experienced all ring true. Natalie Medlock is an exceptional – as in very different – talent and she has the skill to take us with her on her extraordinary journey. Thomas Sainsbury and Yvette Parsons are whole-hearted in their support, wildly wacky at times yet essentially grounded.

Does it mean anything? Apart from contrasting the pinnacle of human achievement with its nadir, I detect astute commentary on human behaviour, brought into stark relief by contrasting it with that of a Yeti. There is method in this madness and the result is a delight.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.  


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Utterly ridiculous but they pull it off

Review by Scott Kara 06th May 2011

Dan Is Dead/I Am A Yeti is about a yeti who lives with newlyweds in an Avondale bedsit. Oh, and the yeti also knows Sir Edmund Hillary after meeting him on Mt Everest back in the day …  

Natalie Medlock – who also plays Jill on Shortland Street – and fellow writer Dan Musgrove are known for their fruity comedies, including Christ Almighty, but this lark about Yeti (whose accent is like some sort of pidgin Asian language-meets-Borat with a lisp) and her flatmates Yvette (lovely but disillusioned) and Tom (a paunchy, painful and randy Star Wars addict) could be their most crazed yet. [More]
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Despite the ridiculousness and somewhat murky plotline, the show works

Review by Karyn Cushen 02nd May 2011

Over the last few years the dynamic writing talents of Auckland-based Natalie Medlock and Dan Musgrove have become synonymous with silly eccentric offbeat comedies that document the absurd, from satirising the nativity in Christ Almighty! to suggesting its plausible for an actor to have a credible career post-Shortland Street in The Giant Face. For their latest offering they are joined by the prolific penmanship of Thomas Sainsbury and the formula is no different.

Based in a bedsit in Avondale, Dan is Dead/I am a Yeti, follows the trials and tribulations of a conniving Yeti that develops a crush on her flatmate Tom, an overweight struggling scriptwriter and Star Wars enthusiast, despite the fact that he lives with his newlywed bride Yvette, who owns a rather fetching negligee. 

As the script progresses at a cracking pace, it is clear a couple of key questions will not be addressed, such as: how a Yeti came to be located in Avondale; how Dan died; whether David Farrier and Rhys Darby know there is a cryptid living in the city fringe…

Despite the ridiculousness and somewhat murky plotline, the show works. Medlock uses her charm, physical expression and a hilarious hybrid-Asian accent to command the crowd, which is complemented by a clever use of movie soundtracks, most notably a sex scene from Fatal Attraction, Photoshop and the F#6 in Minnie Riperton’s ‘Lovin’ You’. The considered delicateness of Medlock’s Yeti is somewhat juxtaposed by the rudimentary portrayals of Tom (Thomas Sainsbury), Yvette (Yvette Parsons) and a host of other characters, which rely on cheap shocks, breasts and all.

The audience on the opening night, which comprised many actors, was enthralled for the entire duration of the performance. But I question the universal appeal of the script, as it seems to rely heavily on industry-specific references, such as Work and Income’s PACE Scheme and the intricacies of scriptwriting, which may be lost on many theatregoers.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.   


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