Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

12/08/2014 - 16/08/2014

Production Details

Just because you can’t fix something doesn’t mean it isn’t worth breaking.  

Families hurt each other. That’s what they do best.  

Mum is washing pills down with vodka. Nana is cutting up the family photos. And Dad has done something unforgivable. When Grace discovers her husband is having an affair with her daughter, she must confront the truth and do what it takes to fix her family for their son.

Intense, darkly comic, peppered with ferocious verbal duels and electrifying reveals, Fix explores a contemporary blended family and questions unconditional love.

Jess Sayer’s award winning script, Fix is hitting The Basement from August 12 to 16 for its world premiere. This limited season stars an impressive team of emerging and established actors around this emotionally charged script.

Leading lady Nicola Kawana (Shortland Street, Jackson’s Wharf) will star as pill-popping, heartbroken and vengeful mother, Grace. Nicola will be ably supported by theatrical veterans Elizabeth Hawthorne (Outrageous Fortune, Mary Stuart) and Andrew Laing (Underbelly NZ, Holding The Man) and emerging actors, Ryan Dulieu (Agent Anna) and Hanelle Harris (Orphans and Kingdoms).

Following her captivating performance in Auckland Theatre Company’s recent production of Other Desert Cities audiences can expect to see the incomparable Elizabeth Hawthorne up close on The Basement stage in a role unlike you have ever seen her before. 

This is the fourth script by Jess Sayer that Junket Theatre has produced and the previous productions have received critical and audience acclaim. Fix was the first script Jess Sayer created and immediately won the prestigious ‘b4 25’ award from Playmarket New Zealand.

Emerging actress Hanelle Harris, who plays the daughter, will be appearing in Paolo Rotondo’s debut feature film, Orphans and Kingdoms at The New Zealand International Film Festival while rehearsing Fix. Harris is fast developing as a young actress to watch.

Directing this explosive piece is esteemed actor Sam Snedden (Chunuk Bair). His first debut as a director was in 2013 where he lead a dynamic cast in the infamous situational comedy, Abigail’s Party by Mike Leigh. This production was rated in the top 10 plays in 2013 by review sites Gather and Hunt and The Lumiere Reader.

Fix is an absorbing story that follows a young family’s journey into the unknown when an inexpressible and fatal mistake is made.

12 – 16 August, 8PM 
The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland City

Cast: Elizabeth Hawthorne, Nicola Kawana, Andrew Laing, Hanelle Harris, Ryan Dulieu 

Set Design – Natasha Pearl
Lighting Design – Rachel Marlow and Brad Gledhill
Sound Design – Mel Collocott
Costume Sponsorship – Widdess
Stage Manager – Youra Hwang
Operator – Brad Gledhill
Producer – Gabrielle Vincent  

Fix transfixes

Review by Sharu Delilkan 13th Aug 2014

Knowing that playwright Jess Sayer wrote this play when she was 21 is both amazing and somewhat disturbing. Her carnal knowledge of what it is like when someone experiences a personal crisis is phenomenal for someone of such a tender age. 

However I quickly forget that this is the case as Fix basically sucks us all in as audience members. Whether you like it or not Sayer takes you for an emotional roller-coaster ride like none other. The beauty of this play is not only the sensitive subject matter but Sayer’s amazing turn of phrase that gives the whole piece its genuine feel, making us buy into the storyline from the get-go. Her ability to write such compelling conversational dialogue is fabulous, no wonder Fix was awarded the 2012 Playmarket Award. [More


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An affecting work from an exciting emerging playwright

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 13th Aug 2014

Emerging playwright Jess Sayer packs plenty of bitter black humour and verbal violence into FIX, her play centred on a shocking family revelation, which gate-crashes an already dysfunctional family and sends it into a tailspin. Clearly not one to beat around the bush, it’s plain to all after the first few minutes, that Sayer’s end game will not be pretty. 

Choosing to launch her audience straight into the unthinkable during scene one, emotions and dialogue are highly charged and raw from the get-go. There’s little time for exploring or guessing themes and motivations: instead the audience is catapulted head long into a dark comic narrative where normal family boundaries and expected mores have been left well behind. 

Director Sam Snedden unnerves his audience with a recurring sound effect from designer Mel Collocott that evokes images of a distorted heart monitor. Natasha Pearl’s set design in traverse further unsettles us, as we watch the pained and shocked expressions of some of our counterparts on the other side. However, I would highly recommend sitting in the first block as you walk in, or the first row of the opposite block, otherwise you’re in danger of missing some of Nicole Kawana’s great work, as she lies in a broken heap in one corner at the start of the play. Perfectly formed orchids growing in upside down pots hanging on the wall of the daughter’s apartment, is another aspect of Pearl’s design which appeals to me greatly. 

Snedden’s cast give fine individual performances and it’s clear they will grow as an ensemble and feed into each other’s work more and more as the season goes on.

Kawana gives a devastating and affecting organic performance as Grace, a mother broken beyond repair; while as Grace’s mother, Elizabeth Hawthorne is every bit the mad, uncompromising, bitter and brutally honest yet fundamentally flawed Matriarch. Andrew Lang chooses to play Carter, Grace’s husband, as weak and mannered and as such, occasionally comes across as slightly emotionally disconnected from the gravity of his situation.

The fledgling players, Ryan Dulieu as the son and Hanelle Harris as Grace’s daughter, both portray very well that uneven mix of youthful irreverence, naivety, and at times, an overly simplistic world-view. Harris is at her best playing opposite Kawana, as she slowly realises the permanent destruction of her actions, while Dulieu portrays a growing self-awareness and ‘coming of age’ with great believability, playing alongside Hawthorne. 

Sayer’s writing is not for the faint hearted. However, she gives those in the audience who cannot fully commit to the subject matter licence to laugh on a regular basis with her canny knack of slamming black humour into the middle of what would otherwise be unrelenting heavy duty material. She has the ability to be off-hand and flippant, then hard-hitting and punishing, sometimes within the same sentence. The result on opening night is a mix of younger audience members laughing nervously throughout, while others are drawn in and involved throughout.   

FIX is an affecting work from an exciting emerging playwright, which regular theatre audiences are highly likely to appreciate. Yet all enquiring minds should investigate FIX, as it explores the fact that when facing up to unthinkable liaisons, not all family love is unconditional; just as family loyalties are never absolute. 


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