Circus Bar 17b Allen Street, Wellington

01/03/2020 - 03/03/2020

NZ Fringe Festival 2020

Production Details

Sneakyville Theatre Company

“What if the world was run by angelic light? Love, unconditional love. Non-judgement. Love your fellow man to the truest sense of the word.”

That’s what Jayden (Bennie Wragg) is fighting for.

There’s just one obstacle: The deep state superpowers. They run the world.

Ever wondered what it would be like to spend the evening in the home of a conspiracy theorist? Bennie Wragg and Lauren Huggard did exactly that! Esoteric is an original verbatim theatre piece that explores the thoughts and beliefs of conspiracy theorists.

Previously titled ‘Q’, Esoteric explores our lives in relation to the current mainstream media narrative through the eyes of conspiracy theorists and is presented as an interrogation of Jayden (Bennie Wragg) by the ‘deep state’.

Sneakyville Theatre Company are excited to premiere Esoteric for the first time in NZ this fringe!

Circus Bar, 17b Allen Street, Te Aro
Sunday 01 – Tuesday 03 March 2020
Price General Admission $25.00 Concession $15.00 Fringe Addict $17.50 Group 6+ $20.00
Book Now

Wheelchair access available

Verbatim , Theatre ,

1 hr

Half-hearted, unfocused, unstructured, unbelievable

Review by Brett Adam 02nd Mar 2020

Conspiracy theorists are of one the many scourges of our current existence. Once merely existing on the fringes and as a source of ridicule, they have over the last twenty years or so moved into main-stream media and world politics. They have been directly responsible for the deaths of innocent people, the harassment of grieving parents and assassination of careers and reputations.

They are also ripe material for a detailed theatrical examination of the psychological complexities that fuel these dark and cynical symptoms of our post-truth world. This is not that play. 

Everything about Esoteric is half-hearted; the writing, the performances, the rigour of thought. The subject matter is well beyond their skills as theatre makers. They have well and truly bitten off way more than they could chew. A complex topic is insultingly reduced to adolescent scribblings and two-dimensional characterisations, with cursory nods to 1984, The X-Files and The Matrix.

Neither Bennie Wragg nor Lauren Huggard have the acting chops to give life to their characters. Wragg’s portrayal of the conspiracy theorist arrested and brought into a ‘Thought Alignment Institute’ for ‘re-education’ is whiney and uncommitted. Hugger’s agent lacks any menace necessary to give this piece any semblance of drama. The narrative, such as it is, is unfocused, unstructured and devolves into a weird revenge story bypassing any attempt at real investigation into the subject.

The venue (The Circus Bar on Allen St) means that this is a very intimate production; the audience is right on top of the actors. Despite this a number of lines are lost through actors’ mumbling and lack of projection. The use of props is clumsy and amateurish: if you want me to believe you are trying to inject someone with a sedative, at least have a (prop) needle in your syringe; if you want me to believe you’re trying to drown someone, at least have more than a centimetre of water in the bottom of the bucket.

Esoteric is billed as “an original verbatim theatre piece that … explores our lives in relation to the current mainstream media narrative”. If only it were.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council