Hamil Town of Horrors

Gallagher Concert Chamber, Wel Academy of Performing Arts, Waikato University, Hamilton

30/07/2010 - 30/07/2010

Production Details

Chilling tales for a dark winter.

Do you thrill to the sound of deviant spite? Do you chill at the thought of haunted invites? Are you shrill as you scream when Christopher bites? Will you come to the horrors of MTE frights?

From the group that brought you an ‘Agapantha Christie Murder Mystery’ at the Hamilton Gardens Festival. So please come watch us infect Hamilton with your first Improvised Horror experience… It will be goresome!!

Performances: Wednesday 30th June, 8.00pm
Venue: Gallagher Concert Chamber
Tickets: $15, Student $12, Special school student price $8, Door Sales only GA
Duration: 90 Minutes

Surprisingly funny, impressively coherent

Review by Gail Pittaway 05th Jul 2010


Hamil Town, 2025.

Karapiro Dam has burst its banks and washed away the bridges, gardens and fountains and left the inhabitants of the once proud Fountain City stranded on opposite sides of the vast river, unable to trade or eat. The only food available is in cans, or the ubiquitous koi carp which, even today, threaten to overtake all other species in the Waikato freshwaters.

Crime and violence are rife. The city is plagued by crime, pests and a new terror, vampires. The desperate Mayor, David Rudgutter calls night time curfews and requests the assistance of the many agricultural scientists in the Waikato to save the city. Only one, Dr Williams – who moonlights as a human organ harvester, sporting madcap blonde wig – takes up the challenge.

Aided by his creepy child assistant Bindi, he creates a brew that will render the blood of humans unpalatable to the toothy ones in his laboratory which seems predominantly accessorized by kitchen implements. Unfortunately the lime essence also kills his human guinea pigs, but life is cheap to a mad scientist. 

Sound vaguely familiar? Don’t let the corny Hammer Horror clichés put you off. Members of the audience got to choose the key characters (scientists and vampires) and the direction of the plot (see above) in this pick-a-path night of improvisation and dry ice as part of the 2010 Fuel Hamilton Festival.

The result is surprisingly funny and the evolving plot made impressively coherent, by the wonderful cast of young talent.

Andrew Kaye of the Maungatautiri Thespian Society has been building up the improv skills of young Hamiltonians for a couple of years now, and this largely secondary and tertiary aged group has already had public success with their delightful site specific presentation of Agapantha Christie in the English Garden, during the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival in February of this year.

There they offered a much more interactive experience for the audience for a classic whodunit, set in the grounds of an English manor house and featuring a changing focus of cast and plot each night, depending upon the random suggestions of the audience.

For this horror production, the interaction was reduced, and the options prepared in advance, perhaps because of the more formal auditorium setting and to maintain the dark, smoky atmosphere of the opening scene.

However the very impromptu nature of interactions, the odd wrong exit or accidental clumsiness, all become part of the humour in such performances, and this was full of in-house jokes arising out of minor incidents such as kicking at a bag of rubbish and releasing noisy drink cans which become sources of food weapons and sound effects for the rest of the show.

The cast featured Andrew himself as the cowardly Mayor and no less than two local school students among the selected few to join workshops at the Globe Theatre in London next week (Calvin Peterson and James Cain), as well as one headed for the National Shakespeare in Schools boot camp in September ( Henry Ashby). 
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