Te Karanga Gallery, Auckland

20/07/2010 - 22/07/2010

Production Details

An ostracized light-house keeper… a sex-crazed shop assistant… a disingenuous receptionist… a self-proclaimed fortune teller… and many more delicious characters will engross you in the uproarious three-night-only theatre show, IDIOTS.

This new piece of NZ comedy, IDIOTS is a ‘no-frills’ showing of six two-hander ‘slice of life’ scenes.

With four directors, eleven actors and six scenes – concocted by the comic writing genius that is Nic Sampson – this show is sure to be a riot!

Say “Ciao!” to paying ridiculous admission fees to flashy productions with no guarantee of even being remotely entertained. This is theatre in its rawest form – no lighting changes, sound effects, smoke machines or wires, just a myriad of delightful actors tackling some laugh-out-loud razor-sharp scripting. The best part – at the end of the show you pay what you think it’s worth!

See you there!
Te Karanga Gallery, 208 Karangahape Road 
Tuesday, July 20 – Thursday, July 22, 2010
at 8:00pm

Pay what you think it’s worth!

Antonia Prebble
Kelson Henderson
Chloe Lewer
Fern Sutherland
Ryan Richards
Byron Coll
Barnaby Fredric
Greg Smith
Chelsea McEwan-Millar
Milo Cawthorne
Nic Sampson

It would be idiotic to miss it

Review by Caoilinn Hughes 21st Jul 2010

If you’re flipping through the Film Festival programme this evening, wondering what’s worth seeing, take a break from the big screen. Take a break from shooting in the dark and having to pay before you know what it’s worth.

Go to Te Karanga Gallery on K-Road to see Idiots; an hour of comedy scenes written by Nic Sampson which are unrelated to each other aside from being all generally brilliant. You pay what you think it’s worth. Only catch is, it’s priceless.

Having witnessed Sampson’s comic genius in the Joint Ventures and Joint Repairs production The Burn last year (where Sampson played an Angel from Heaven who goes on work exchange to a video rental shop in Hell), I had high hopes for Idiots. In The Burn and even more so in Idiots, it is clear that Sampson is very talented both as a writer and as an actor. It’s also obvious that he revels in comic theatre; he’s made for it. And anyone who’s been in Power Rangers gets my vote.

But there is more than one talent involved in this collection of comic vignettes. Sampson employs some of his “favourite actors and directors working in Auckland” to create a comedy feast of the highest order.

Each of the 8 scenes are directed by one of 5 up and coming directors: Peter Salmon, Thomas Sainsbury, Jonathan Brugh, Milo Cawthorne and Dena Kennedy.

There are too many actors to mention, but the standard of writing, direction and acting in each scene is consistently high – if it were a contest, it would be impossible to pick a winner. Luckily, it’s not; so we can enjoy the opulent diversity of situations and characters, which amounts to a socio-cultural sweepstake, in all its blissful lack of through-line or objective.

Sampson’s stories range from an ex-lighthouse keeper being plagued by the tea-loving calculator that replaced him; to a friend coaching his friend on how to play a realistic murderer to bag a chick, since girls love bad guys and “a psychopath is just a bad guy with good motivational skills”; to a fortune teller-doctor who specialises in Uno card reading and who will only be paid in shoes; and everything in between.  

All of the scenes are worth mentioning, but one which took me by surprise was a young woman called Chloe (played by Chelsea McEwan Millar) attempting to seduce a much older millionaire, Grant (played pitch-perfect by Greg Smith), who made his millions by hiring sugar-ridden children to manufacture textiles. Chloe’s come-ons just don’t cut it in the end, as Grant is looking for a woman who has a passion for materials. He can’t relate to someone who won’t pour vinegar all down her front in order to save the fabric, despite her desperate promises to put out. Smith’s character and the writing in this scene are downright hilarious.

Another cracker is Antonia Prebble’s performance in the ‘Receptionists’ scenes (where the bitchy receptionist shows the new assistant receptionist the ropes… or the staples, as it happens); a particularly hackneyed theme which rarely enjoys such comic perfection.

The programme warns against hoping for continuity of theme, or anything other than a “ramshackle hour of stuff”. In the end, the theme is simply Idiots. And the moral of the story is: it would be idiotic to miss it.
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