Basement Theatre Studio, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

25/02/2013 - 01/03/2013

Auckland Fringe 2013

Production Details


Here to turn the tide on the male-dominated comedy scene is Catalyst Theatre Company newcomer, Kate Vox, with a brand new belatedly-coming of age story.

High School Hangover centers around the quirky but loveable Henrietta, played to perfection by Amelia Reynolds, (The Tribe, As the Bell Rings).

Henrietta is probably the coolest cat she knows. Rockstar best friend, high-flying boyfriend and a tight as bunch of kickass mates! She’s 10yrs on from high school and living the dream. So what if Henny’s world is a tad…unbelievable. Perception IS reality, right?

Filling out the cast are Kate Vox, ‘Best Up and Coming Talent’ (SHORT+SWEET 2012), Liesha Ward-Knox, (‘The Cult’, ‘This Is Not My Life’), Xavier Black, Jessie Graham and a few surprise guests.

Kate Vox, writer-director of the piece and starring as ‘Tara’, Henrietta’s high school nemesis, has created ‘High School Hangover’ as a vehicle for 6 fiery female talents to provide Fringe audiences with some “freaky fun times from a feminine world view”.

“Who knew you had a whole weird world just floating around in your head?” says Sam Berkley, Catalyst Company Director and actor/playwright, of Vox’s Quirky new Rom/Com.

Well, Kate’s been plotting to take over the universe for years, Pinkie, and now she’s putting her plans where you can see them at The Basement Studio, Auckland Fringe 25 February to March 1st.

High School Hangover is feminine, it’s feisty and it’s a f@#k load of funnies! You can see it for 5 nights only during The Auckland Fringe Festival, which runs from 15 February to 10 March 2013. For more Auckland Fringe information go to www.aucklandfringe.co.nz 

25th February -1st March, 5:30pm
Duration: 60min
Location: The Basement Studio, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland CBD
Ticketing: $15; Child/Group 6+/Equity/Fringe Artist pass: $10
Bookings: iTicket – (09) 309 7433 or www.iticket.co.nz

1 hr

Strong ensemble and idiosyncrasies

Review by Hannah Smith 27th Feb 2013

High School is awful, and growing up is worse. High School Hangover explores the horrors of cliquey girl friendships, self-discovery, and the weird and wicked effects that karma and divine intervention may or may not have on our lives.

Henrietta, a snivelly shoe-obsessed sad-sack, has moved on from who she was in high school, but only in her head.  Her fantasy world – boyfriend, job, witty comebacks to slurs – is reinforced by her three ‘friends’: a coterie of Mean Girls who appear to always have her back.  But when Henrietta runs into Tara, a popular kid from Henrietta’s high school past, her life is set on a collision course for change.

There is youthful exuberance in both subject matter and execution. The cast are uniformly strong. Amelia Reynolds, as Henrietta, plays the comic excesses of the part, while retaining enough vulnerability and grounding in her performance to hit the emotional notes when they are called for.  Playwright, Kate Vox, shines as Tara, and her commitment and charisma make up for the two-dimensionality of her character. The three ‘Invisibles’ – Xavier Mercedes-Black, Liesha Ward-Knox, and Jessie Graham – are a strong chorus, who wriggle sinuously about the stage clad in intergalactic lycra and give great face.  

The ensemble is strong, and this is what carries the show. The comedy ranges from broad to goofball, with sections that work brilliantly and others that fall flat. Generally it could do with some solid editing. Some of the emotional monologues need a trim, and the ‘Invisibles’, though an ambitious and interesting concept, require further development to be thoroughly woven into the narrative. 

The musical work from Jess Dowlman supports the action beautifully, adding some lovely moments. The cameo from Bronwyn Turei at the top of the show is an endearing way to start, and works particularly well in the casual intimacy of the Basement studio, in which the audience have to enter through the stage space. In other places recorded music is used to good effect – in particular the X-Files theme tune gets regular giggles.

In her writer’s note Vox suggests: “it is often through our idiosyncrasies that we bond and are loved by those whom we allow to catch glimpses of our truest selves.”  High School Hangover is certainly idiosyncratic and if you’d like to glimpse some strong woman giving great performances then get along to see this show.


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