Isis Lounge, 68 Princess St, Dunedin

15/02/2013 - 23/02/2013

Maidment Theatre - Musgrove Studio, Auckland

08/02/2013 - 17/02/2013

Meow, Edward St CBD, Wellington

02/03/2013 - 10/03/2013

Paramount Theatre, Bergman Room, Wellington

01/03/2013 - 08/03/2013

Dunedin Fringe 2013

Auckland Pride Festival 2013

NZ Fringe Festival 2013

Production Details

Script by Jamie Burgess
Songs by Jamie Burgess and Nikki Aitken


Relationships are like a Gobstopper – if you want to get to the sweetest part, you’ll have to suck at it long and hard – but remember not to bite!

Gobsmacked: Showbiz and Dating is an all original musical-theatre-meets-cabaret showcase of Spilt Chocolate, Spirit-fingers and Spoilt Divas starring the irrepressible Aussie Diva, Nikki Aitken (Attack of the 40 Foot Wedge, Viva La Franglaise) and New Zealand’s own Musical Theatre Composer die-hard Jamie Burgess (Once Were Warriors – The Musical Drama, Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory, Becoming The Courtesan).

Having sold out their seasons in Melbourne’s International Comedy Festival and the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival, and after performing a fabulous three week season of shows for Midsumma 2013 at the infamous Butterfly Club, Jamie is super excited to bring his show home, and even more excited to introduce New Zealand to Nikki’s voice!

Gobsmacked is a ‘heartfelt and sincere’ celebration of the fabulous-darling single life, and a ‘love letter’ to that unique relationship that exists between the gay man and the single straight girl… but even more than that, it’s a shameless celebration of all things Musical Theatre (or as Jamie likes to call it ‘Gay Church’).

With a ‘laugh-out-loud’ script by Burgess, and songs by both he and Aitken, witness the duo who are more than friends but less than lovers, as they tackle the funny, sometimes sad but never boring life of a single girl trying to

make it in show business whilst searching for a relationship that lasts. And who knows… the idea of the single-girl’s

‘Knight In Shining Armour’ may actually be standing right beside her wearing, well Rainbow Armour instead!





Gobsmacked: Showbiz and Dating
Duration 60 mins

Dates: 8 Feb – 17 Feb
Performances: 8pm
Venue: Musgrove Studio @ The Maidment
Tickets: $25-$30 service fees apply
Bookings: www.maidment.auckland.ac.nz

Dates: 1 March – 10th March

Venue 1 – Meow Cafe
Dates: March 2, 9, 10
Time: March 2 @ 9pm, March 9 @ 9pm, and March 10 @ 7pm

Venue 2 – Bergman Theatre
Dates: March 1, March 3, March 5, March 6, March 7, March 8
Time: All shows are @ 10.30pm

Tickets: $15 – $20 service fees apply
Bookings: www.dashtickets.co.nz

Dates: 15 March – 23 March
Performances: 8pm
Venue: Isis Lounge, 68 Princess St
Tickets: $15 – $20 service fees apply
Bookings: www.dashtickets.co.nz

Website: www.gobsmackedshow.com

Jamie Burgess and Nikki Aitken

Theatre , Musical , Cabaret , Comedy ,

Polished and utterly hilarious

Review by Kimberley Buchan 16th Mar 2013

Nikki Aitken and Jamie Burgess have created Gobsmacked: Showbiz and Dating, a glittering vivacious show that parallels the highs and lows of the dating and showbiz world. The desperate hope of blind dates and auditions, the rejection of lovers and directors and the love of a relationship and an audience are cleverly juxtaposed.  

Nikki bounds between domestic goddess and a quivering lump of vulnerability wrapped in layers of diva. Her energy is endearing and contagious. She dances, sings and dominates the Isis Lounge. Her voice fills the venue but diction is sometimes lost in her passion. Nikki specialises in grand entrances, exits and fabulous clothes. 

Jamie is the calming reliable friend for both Nikki and the audience and smoothes the way between each scene. He plays, sings and fuses the elements of the show together. Both performers complement each other and have great comic timing. They work the awkwardly-placed crowd with skill and the happy clappy audience interaction is received well, particularly the production of a birthday cake for one of the patrons. 

Having the performance in the Isis Lounge is appropriate to the material but it is still a bar and business continues regardless of the show. The blender from the cocktail bar was strangely fitting in the moments it chose to add to the narrative. More seating would be recommended as this show deserves to be seen by a large number of people. 

Gobsmacked is a fast paced torrent of anecdotes, musical clips, 80s songs and raunchy quips. The brazen stereotypes of the characters and the situations they find themselves in are flaunted and revelled in. The show offers no insight into the well worn perils of drinking on a blind date, the morning after and bars full of men with eyes only for each other.  

The emotional cycle of anticipation crashing to despair and the associated insecurities are packaged into a polished and utterly hilarious performance. 
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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Talent in spades; could use a director

Review by Nancy Catherine Fulford 04th Mar 2013

Gobsmacked – Showbiz and Dating is a whirlwind musical extravaganza brought to us by James Burgess and Nikki Aitken. Meow is an excellent venue for the cabaret styled show which you should definitely calendar as a must-do if you are a fan of either comedy or musical theatre.

Jamie Burgess has written a collection of songs that traverse the trials and tribulations of modern love and Nikki Aitken has a voice I would leave the house for any night of the week. It absolutely soars. Burgess, the principal pianist, is also a gifted singer, bringing a real warmth to his delivery.

What I can’t report on is the name of a director. This has been a recurring experience for me this year at the Fringe: shows with some excellent material, and in this case superb delivery, but lacking the conceptual shaping and honing that is the job of a director or dramaturge. If it’s your own material, how can you ever expect to have the aesthetic distance necessary to tie it all together into a cohesive night’s entertainment by making the hard calls, as in “this section is damned funny, but it doesn’t speak to the rest of the show and therefore let’s keep it for later.”

Gobsmacked feels like it has three good shows condensed and confused into one. Were they each teased out and grounded in a dominating narrative I’d happily go three different nights. These performers have got talent in spades, as singers, actors and musicians. And whoever is responsible for the costumes deserves the Oscar on that account.

It is clear that everyone in the audience (and especially me) really enjoyed themselves, there is absolutely no doubt about that. I’m just saying… because I think these guys should go far.  They’ve each got the goods and work well as a team, playing on our cultural expectations of the spicy dynamic between the gay guy and single straight girl. The physical comedy between them is fantastic; very tight and very funny.

Aitken gives us many distinct and engaging character portrayals: the single girl waiting for her date; Miss fitness fanatic; Miss horribly hung over; the smooth and spangled torch singer (my favourite) and a Southern Belle. The characters each sing out their stories and the choreography Aitkin has fitted in around the music is out and out hilarious. 

There are times a couple of the characters feel rushed and I miss lyrics. They are all such delicious entities they deserve more space and sometimes that means a slower pace. Written by Burgess, the lyrics are often entertaining but this is one of the places I feel an outside director might have worked to tighten and focus things.

Burgess himself is very engaging on stage and I really enjoy his Knight-in-shining-armour take on a gay man’s view of love in the real world.  

It’s a great show and you must go, I just hope a director comes on the scene at some point and takes things to a new level, bringing in greater coherence and depth of story. 


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Musical production looks at gay man/ single woman bond

Review by Paul Simei-Barton 11th Feb 2013

As part of Auckland’s expanded Pride Festival, an enterprising Australian-Kiwi partnership offers a sweetly flavoured piece of musical theatre focusing on the emotional symbiosis that often develops between gay men and single straight women.

A collection of finely crafted original songs supply a glittering showcase for the talent of composer Jamie Burgess and the versatile voice of Aussie diva Nikki Aitken. [More


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Class all the way plus cake

Review by Lexie Matheson ONZM 11th Feb 2013

Auckland is crazy busy over the next two months with all things artistic.

Three large festivals – Auckland Pride (8- 24 February), the Auckland Fringe (15 February – 10 March) and the Auckland Arts Festival (6-24 March) – are scheduled to soak up our every disposable dollar and attempt to satisfy that unquenchable human need we have for celebration, reflection and entertainment.  

Add to this Pasifika (9- 10 March), Auckland Lantern Festival (22-24 February), Auckland Summer Shakespeare’s 50th anniversary production of King Lear (1-30 March) along with the regular concerts and movies in parks provided by Auckland City and you have a wonderful illustration of a mature city celebrating the arts – and an awful lot else besides.  

Pride and Auckland City are to be congratulated for finding their way clear to providing a good number of free events the largest of these being the return, after a decade’s absence, of the fabulous Pride Parade (Ponsonby Road, 16 February, 2013), because with all the big ticket items that we arty-fartys lust after we certainly need the freebies as well – and not just for the well-heeled! Even the sternest critics of ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) might now be silent as this still fledgling organisation has done a brilliant job in ensuring that these important events are not only sustainable but that Auckland is, and will continue to be, one of the world’s most livable cities.

It’s fair to say that, looking at this summer of excitement, artistic ecstasy and seemingly endless variety, one might easily feel Gobsmacked!

It’s certainly how I felt throughout Jamie Burgess and Nikki Aitken’s seventy minute show of the same name played before an almost full opening night house in the impeccably decked out Musgrove Studio. Gobsmacked describes it perfectly – and if you happened to attend the Auckland Pride Festival Gala or the Big Gay Out, and tens of thousands of people did – you’ll know that Gobsmacked has ‘a show at the Maidment’, such is the sublime brazenness of these two extraordinary bravura performers and unabashed self-publicists.

For those who didn’t, Burgess and Aitken entertained at both events beginning each with a rollicking number containing that very phrase ‘Gobsmacked has a show at the Maidment’ repeated ad infinitum – and we got the message.

I nicked the following from their excellent – and helpful as there was no programme – website http://gobsmackedshow.com/ and feel no guilt about this as Aitken and Burgess are themselves consummate – and highly successful – magpies.

I’ve changed it a bit (but not much):

Gobsmacked: Showbiz and Dating is an all original musical-theatre-meets-cabaret showcase, a ‘heartfelt and sincere’ celebration of the fabulous-darling single life, and a ‘love letter’ to that unique relationship that exists between the gay man and the single straight girl who are more than friends but less than lovers. Witness the duo as they tackle the funny, sometimes sad but never boring, life of a single girl trying to make it in show business whilst searching for a relationship that lasts.

“It’s also – as the website concludes – a shameless celebration of all things Musical Theatre (or as Jamie likes to call it ‘Gay Church’).” 

I, for one, sing ‘hallelujah’ to that!

Plot-wise this pretty much sums it up but it has to be said that the narrative is largely a rack on which to hang Aitken and Burgess’s exceptional talent and even without it we’d have been bowled over by the utter élan of their performances.

Which is not to say that Gobsmacked: Showbiz and Dating is all shallow virtuosity because it’s not.  Aitken, in particular, scales the heights and plumbs the emotional depths in rather spectacular fashion, and to such an extent that, in one of those unique stunned silences we all love so much, Burgess whispered ‘you didn’t think we’d go there, did you?’ – and we hadn’t. 

Burgess is an astonishingly good pianist. He seems comfortable in any genre and as accompanist his work is sublime. Even given that there’s a lot in the script that is conveniently borrowed from real life – the couple actually live together – it still doesn’t fully explain the seamlessness of their collaboration. Identifying just who was leading who in the amazing array of eleven numbers was never an issue. It’s a pairing made in whatever heaven you may believe in and the audience instinctively knew this and responded accordingly throughout. 

Not that Burgess waited to be asked. Seconds after the show began he identified a suitably qualified candidate in the front row, welcomed him with a delicate wee kiss and maintained a fairly constant dialogue with the audience for the remainder of the show which included a mercifully brief sing-along and some elegant arm-waving.  

While Burgess holds an impish, almost improvisational connection to the audience Aitken stuns us with her versatility, her ability to move from diva to desperate housewife in the blink of an eye and her simply magnificent voice. In a word: fabulous! 

The set is simple. To the left is Burgess’s powerhouse keyboard fronted by a rainbow flag, to the right a table for two all set for dining, at centre back a coat stand, and central on the floor a fabric heart in red. Just about everything is red, in fact, a colour that Aitken wears as though the ruby palette was designed especially for her.

The whole is, of course, a musical theatre burlesque, and it’s based on Tipsy whichBurgess describes as “a loving parody of the musical fable Gypsy”and which we all know (but I didn’t: just what sort of queer am I, after all?) was created by Jule Styne, Steven Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, to give them their due. I mention this because there’s more than a hint of Sondheim at his darkest in some of Burgess’s songs – both lyrically and musically – and I sincerely hope he’ll take this as a compliment because it’s certainly meant to be one. ‘Being Alive’ from Company and ‘Losing My Mind’ from Follies immediately come to mind. 

There are some cracker lines – especially for the theatrical types – “of course I’m making a scene, that’s what I do”, “masticating by yourself isn’t that much fun”, “my lasagne is the food of love” – and both Aitken and Burgess have exquisite comic timing but, when all is done and said, there’s only the music, both vocal and played, driving, sidling, oozing, stomping, soaring and it’s this, and its sublime production, that leaves the most powerful mark.

It’s everything an audience could ask for – and there’s cake for everyone at the end. Chocolate cake, of course.

The show has an R18 rating – or R16 depending on where you read it – but ignore that. Our ten year old joined us as he usually does and he loved every minute. He saw bits at the Pride Gala and bits at the Big Gay Out and still he wants to see it again. It’s risqué, sure, and it’s a bit rude but it’s never vulgar or, as my old Mum would say, ‘unnecessary’. As performers Burgess and Aitken are too clever for that. They could turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse if they had to but they don’t because this show is class all the way.

So, if you’re a bit blue – and even if you’re not – and you’re looking for a musical theatre pick-me-up, make your next concoction a Burgess and Aitken Gin and Iconic because Gobsmacked: Showbiz and Dating will give you just the lift you need. 


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