Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

04/12/2014 - 20/12/2014

Production Details

Grab a cocktail, slop on ya SPF50, slap on ya boat shoes and take a Christmas Cruise with the A-list of Auckland society… 

It’s the party of the year! But when the yacht’s billionaire skipper is harpooned by an anonymous assailant, things quickly turn from a who’s who to a whodunit. With a boat full of fame-hungry guests, and red herrings around every corner, it’s all starting to smell rather fishy – and we’re not talking about the seafood buffet. How far will Sally go for a return season of The Ridges? Is there more to Kiri Te Kanawa’s feud with Hayley Westenra? Are cracks beginning to show in Jason Gunn and Thingee’s “relationship”? 

Help our hapless heroes, Chris and Tom as they try to unravel the biggest New Zealand scandal since the death of Dr Sarah Potts. 

Starring Chris Parker and Tom Sainsbury and a huge revolving cast of stars from the stage and screen (and our hearts). 

Our HUGE guest celebrity cast includes: 

Amanda Billing – Michael Hurst – Siobhan Marshall – Jennifer Ward-Lealand – Jesse Griffin – Oliver Driver – Nic Sampson – Antonia Prebble – Guy Montgomery – Rose Matafeo – Kimberley Crossman – Kate Elliott – Eli Matthewson – Barnie Duncan – Michelle Blundell – Leon Wadham – Chelsea McEwan Miller – Jordan Mooney – Zinnie Selwyn – Ravi Gurunathan – Mike Edward – Ryan Richards – Joseph Moore – Cameron Rhodes – Saraid Cameron – Bryony Skillington – Bree Peters – Sam Snedden – Jess Holly Bates – Shavaughn Ruakere – Hamish Parkinson – Calum Gittins – Renee Lyons – Eddy Dever – Barnaby Frederic – Rhys Mathewson – Donna Brookbanks – Hans Fa’avae – Olivia Tennet – Amanda Tito – Kate Simmonds – Nicola Kawana – Fasitua Amosa – Miriama McDowell – Laura Daniel – Harry McNaughton – Lana Garland – Jonny Brugh – Luanne Gordon. And more! 

Make this the first stop on your Advent calendar, and book early as the season sells out every year! 

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland CBD 
4 – 20 December 2014
8pm Mon-Sat 
Matinees: 4pm, Sat 13th & 20th
Late show: 10pm, Fri 19th
Prices: Adult $35; Conc $30;
Group of 6 $210 (reserved table)

Book Now 

CAst kist for Sat 6 December 2014:

Tom - Thomas Sainsbury

Chris - Chris Parker

Dick Rancid - Oliver Driver

Jamie Ridge - Olivia Tennet

Sally Ridge - Renee Lyons

Jason Gunn - Ryan Richards

Thingee - Barnaby Frederic

Kelly Tarlton - Sam Snedden

Kiri Te Kanawa - Antonia Prebble

Paikea Apirana - Saraid Cameron

Poseidon - Harry McNaughton

Silly Seas

Review by James Wenley 09th Dec 2014

The Basement Christmas show feels a little less ambitious this year. Long gone are your Kim Dotcoms and entire children’s choirs that have featured in Christmas shows pasts. The most ambitious thing in Hauraki Horror is probably the boat set designed brilliantly by Grant Hall to fill the length of The Basement, and one of the best sets The Basement has had all year.* Meanwhile, the musical numbers are unapologetically, shamelessly, awful. In the hands of this year’s writers Tom Sainsbury and Chris Parker and director Rachel House, Hauraki Horror has gone back to basics with unpretentious silliness, and I reckon that is no bad thing.

On the good ship “Red Herring”, a nautical bash with the sour cream of Auckland’s celebrity set (including the Ridges, Kiri Te Kanawa and er, Kelly Tarlton…) turns into a murder mystery when Captain Dick Rancid (what Richard Branson would be like if he was a crude kiwi entrepreneur) is murdered on his own ship. Paparazzi duo Tom (Sainsbury) and Chris (Parker) take it upon themselves to uncover the murderer. [More


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Ridiculous romp encapsulates the silly season

Review by Dione Joseph 08th Dec 2014

When I was little I used to make my numerous Barbie dolls indulge in amorous lesbian affairs and cajole my one and only Ken to accept the responsibilities of polygamy and do endless acts of service (I’m talking cleaning the pool, kitchen and car, whatever you might be thinking) to keep his women accustomed to the life they were leading.

However, having no brothers I don’t quite know what a lot of little boys were doing back then. But on Saturday night as I watched Tom (Sainsbury) and Chris (Parker) swordfight with an appropriate ectothermic animal with a gargantuan phallic symbol deliberately that they wielded down each other’s throats – I reckon I might have solved that puzzle.  

And maybe some things just don’t change.

The Basement’s Hauraki Horror is a chance to re-visit that highly visceral, somewhat fetishized, occasionally homoerotic (okay maybe more than occasionally) landscape and indulge in one of the silliest and perhaps most ridiculous romps of the year.

Comic writers Sainsbury and Parker star in their own nautical whodunit alongside a rotating cast of Auckland actors in what is, very appropriately, a lewd, rude and bawdy commentary on the juiciest oysters and saveloys at this year’s Chrissy banquet: that’s right, Kiwi celebs laid out in all their glory. 

But the real question which occupies our two young wannabe paparazzi (one which Miss Marple would have probably figured out in seconds) is who murdered Captain Dick Rancid? Or more appropriately, who had such bad aim that it was necessary to harpoon the pompous goat (Oliver Driver) not once but three times?

Could it be Sally Ridge (Renee Lyons), whose desire to have a reality show is repeatedly squashed by daughter Jamie (Olivia Tennet); the latter, who is more pre-occupied with her mother getting a lesson in bar service? Or is it Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (Antonia Prebble) who seems to have been unable to bury the hatchet with her beloved Dicky while offering unwelcome attempts at arias; or perhaps it is even more likely that Keisha Castle-Hughes look alike Paikea Apirana (Saraid Cameron), who is now Queen of an underwater conspiracy led by an army of whale pods, is the culprit of this sordid marine tale. 

And of course, they all have motives: vacuous, obviously shallow and riddled with superficial sentiment.

It’s clearly one of those riveting mysteries where Hercule Poirot might be needed because if those candidates weren’t sufficient to inspire Agatha Christie’s current write-a-like … just wait till the second act. 

Things are suddenly thrown off-kilter when Kelly Tarlton (Sam Snedden) emerges and a second mystery takes over: which set of genitalia does Tarlton need to visit the loo? But don’t get side-tracked attempting an astute conclusion as to which is more appropriate (breasts or pecks) because both Jason Gunn (Ryan Richards) and Thingee (Barnaby Frederic) are on hand for plenty of nineties nostalgia and tumbles down memory lane. 

And if the bottle of champers (that is an undoubted a necessity at every table) has not left you with an effervescent benevolence towards the culprit (who you guessed despite the incredibly complex web of deceit that was woven for you over the space of two hours) well… then really Poseidon (Harry McNaughton) himself might have to settle the matter once and for all.

It’s a tad too long, and certainly might not be everyone’s cup of tea but while the music and lyrics are forgettable, and most of the jokes you probably wouldn’t want to regurgitate unless you were having dinner at the outlaws, it’s a night of silliness to celebrate in wholesale quantities for the silly season. 

And the latter, it undoubtedly encapsulates exceedingly well.


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Silly, shambolic and fun

Review by Janet McAllister 08th Dec 2014

The Basement’s Christmas fundraising tradition is as scruffy and silly as a present wrapped by toddlers using tinsel and a gluestick. This year, the kids gifting the hokiness – even more of it than usual – are playwrights Thomas Sainsbury and Chris Parker.

They are all at sea in long socks and Roman sandals, “putting the naughty into nautical”, starring as “Tom” and “Chris” in their own shipboard comedy whodunit. 

Every night, they offer up egregious puns, lots of leg and long-repressed memories of Kiwi culture (McDonald’s Young Entertainers, anyone?). All perfectly suited to Sainsbury’s great trademark deadpan New Zild accent. [More]


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