Basement Theatre Studio, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

17/04/2012 - 21/04/2012

Production Details

Emerging theatre company SCRATCH New Writing present this rich, funny and darkly beautiful play about the truths we keep and the lies we tell.

Premiering at the Basement Studio in April, Everything She Ever Said To Me is an exciting new work by British theatre makers Keziah Warner and Benjamin Henson.

Jo is a troubled twenty something struggling to cope. Her mum calls a lot, her colleagues tread round her on eggshells and everyone thinks they know what’s best. All they want is for her to be ok – so how can she admit that she’s not?
With everyone’s true emotions bubbling just under the surface, it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out.

Playwright Keziah Warner has had works produced at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as well as various venues in Londonincluding Southwark Playhouse and The Rose Theatre. Last year her play Silk performed at the Basement as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival. She has also written for the Short + Sweet Festival and Thomas Sainsbury’s monologues.

Director Benjamin Henson presented shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for 9 years before relocating to Aucklandlast year. Henson’s adaptation of classic ghost story The Turn of the Screw at the Auckland Fringe last March received sell-out audiences and rave reviews. He has also assisted for Auckland Theatre Company and is currently directing Punk Rock for The Outfit Theatre Company.

Everything She Ever Said To Me stars Kayleigh Haworth who was picked as “one to watch” by Janet McAllister in the New Zealand Herald for her performance in Tigerplay, Young & Hungry 2011.

Other cast members include Jordan Blaikie (Young and Hungry 2011, Leopard); Kerr Inkson (Auckland Theatre Company’s The Wasteland); Georgina Monro (Social Climbers, The Maids) and Lisa Sorensen (Short + Sweet 2011, Young & Hungry 2010).

SCRATCH New Writing is a new writing initiative that has previously presented nights of short plays inAucklandwith the purpose of developing emergingNew Zealandplaywrights and getting unperformed works on to the stage. This will be SCRATCH’s first full-length production.

“the storytelling is breathtakingly lyrical with sparkling descriptions […] richly poetic writing” – NZ Herald on Keziah Warner’s Silk, Auckland Fringe 2011


Dates: 17 – 21 April
Time: 8pm
Venue: Basement Studio
Tickets: www.iticket.co.nz 


The pain of everyday

Review by James Wenley 19th Apr 2012

Jo’s everyday interactions are characterised by a sort of agony. As played by Kayleigh Haworth, she’s an intriguing study of indecision, awkwardness, tension and a constant internal torment about what to reveal, keep to herself, and behave.

Keziah Warner’s new play Everything She Ever Said to Me, speaks to the painfulness of conversation and the tyranny of the mundane. She’s teamed with Director Benjamin Henson, who arrived in Auckland from Britain around the same time as Warner, and have made a welcome contribution to our theatre scene, with their Scratch New Writing initiative, who they produce this work under. [More


Make a comment

Excruciating, tortuous, compelling ….

Review by Nik Smythe 18th Apr 2012

A simple, pragmatic set adorns the rustic Basement Studio stage – some wooden chairs, a table, a few wall shelves beset with bottles, books, pictures and other trinkets.  Water is welcomingly provided at the door; though it’s a cold night out the venue tends to get excessively warm.

Everything She Ever Said to Me is the premier production of a lengthy new work from playwright Keziah Warner, directed by Benjamin Henson, which explores that excruciating human foible of suppressing one’s honest thoughts and feelings in an effort to not rock the boat or overcomplicate matters, inevitably with the opposite result.

Kayleigh Haworth is 24 year old Jo, a skittish, painfully nervous young woman with a dead-end telemarketing job selling mobility hardware to old people, and an oppressively doting mother (Jen Wolfe) calling her mobile incessantly to check she’s okay.  From the first scene it’s made abundantly clear that Jo is not okay at all, spending much of the two acts on the brink of tears, alternately faking enthusiasm, barely containing excitement and frequently wincing at her own choice of words.

One apparent glimmer of light at the end of her tunnel-like existence is her work colleague Adam (Jordan Blaikie), a nice enough seeming lad who seems interested in her life and general wellbeing, but may be concealing a secret or two of his own… 

Jo first encounters her neighbour, the lovable elderly widower Mr. Andrews (Kerr Inkson), through a random call through her work.  Inspired by his frank simplicity, she makes an effort to strike up a friendship with him although, as with all her relationships, there’s much more going on in her mind and soul than she is willing to share.

All the first act’s frustration, anguish and twisted agendas culminate in the second act at Sarah’s allegedly ‘legendary’ Sunday roast, attended by all the above along with Nicole (Lisa Sorensen), an upwardly mobile legal assistant whom Adam and Jo invite at the last minute in a panicking, misguided attempt to cover their indiscretion.

Jessika Verryt’s straightforward set design is clearly dictated to some degree by budget; some suspension of disbelief is needed, but overall she succeeds in evoking a sense of familiar domesticity for a handful of different settings. Interestingly, while most props are merely representational – dinner sets, furniture etc – the climactic, delicious looking meal comes complete with gravy.

The capable cast work hard under Benjamin Henson’s direction to maintain the predominately high-strung energy throughout the two-plus hour ordeal, especially Haworth whose central performance is as compelling as it is tortuous.  However, the show stealer is Inkson’s lonely old Mr. Andrews, a natural, sagacious voice of calm and reason amidst a chaotic cacophony of neurosis.

Warner’s script cuts no corners in getting to the point.  It often feels unnecessarily drawn out, albeit in a realistic, awkward fashion that evokes many a conversation that we yearn to have yet pathologically avoid.  There are a few scenes that don’t advance a great deal, but simply emphasise the invariably circular nature of unspoken angst – an experiential illustration of how much time, and life, we can waste through reticence and evasion of our underlying truths.

My associate suggested the whole story could feasibly be reconstructed in a single setting, the prior establishing plot points being revealed during the Sunday roast scene. In any case, depending on the company’s objective in terms of what they want their audience to endure, I feel the play could easily be shaved down to under two hours without compromising too much of the aforementioned drawn-out anxiety.  


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council