In Flagrante

St James Theatre 1st Floor Gallery, Wellington

13/09/2011 - 24/09/2011

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

30/09/2011 - 01/10/2011

The Basement, Auckland

12/10/2011 - 22/10/2011

Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace, New Plymouth

01/06/2012 - 01/06/2012

Assembly, Roxy, Edinburgh, Scotland

08/08/2013 - 26/08/2013

Hamilton Gardens, Chinoiserie Garden, Hamilton

26/02/2014 - 27/02/2014

Basement Fest. 2011

Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2014

Tempo Dance Festival 2011

The Real New Zealand Festival


Production Details

In Flagrante is 11 short pieces set to the music of quirky Austrian cabaret group Waldeck’s ‘Ballroom Stories’. The dancers draw you deeper into their dark world as each piece develops.

Our Day will Come – opening number, full cast. Watch out!; Memories – Whip solo  danced by Lara Fischel-Chisholm; Horses  – danced by Shanelle, Maria, Amanda, Megan. Inspired by Bunny Girls; Addicted  – danced by Lucy Miles, inspired by Eve and cigarette girls; Traffic Girl  – danced by Megan Smith, inspired by Korean traffic girls and hotdogging; Group Bondage  – danced by Lucy, Shanelle, Megan, Amanda. 10 min Interval. Blindfold  – danced by Maria, supported by Lara, inspired by the golden girl Freda Stark; Black and Blue  – danced by Shanelle, with Lucy, inspired by Clockwork Orange and dysfunctional relationships; Pikelet  – performed by Lara, inspired by the Edmonds Cook Book recipe.  Nurses  – danced by Shanelle, Maria and Megan, inspired by images of very bad nurses and nuns with guns. Make my Day  – danced by Amanda, inspired by Vargas Girls and 50’s air hostesses. Summertime  – danced by full cast, inspired by hot steamy nites ….

The creator of this sultry show is MaryJane O’Reilly, New Zealand’s legendary contemporary dance exponent and co founder of the ‘before it’s time’ Limbs Dance Company, whose exuberant signature style was their highly developed sense of satire, superb technical execution and genius for slapstick physical theatre.

This is a very sexy romp through some deliciously dark territory.  If you’re a contemporary dance fan you’ll adore the captivating choreography and precise physical and cerebral execution.  Be prepared to be surprised – if not a little shocked. If you’re not a dance fan you’ll love the gorgeous sculpted dancers, the humour, music and daring minimal costumes.  A fresh look at burlesque, in all is slick, naked darkness and glory.

“I wanted to challenge the orthodoxies of burlesque female sexuality; that women are capable of being bad, not just coquettish avatars,” says MaryJane

The result is a truly unique burlesque experience.

In Flagrante is set to be a very popular show during The REAL New Zealand Festival so book early.

6.00pm Tues 13 September
7.30pm Wed 14 September
8.30pm Thurs 15 SeptemberReal NZ Festival
10.00pm Fri 16 September
10.30pm Sat 17 September
5.00pm Sun 18 September
7.30pm Tues 20 September
7.30pm Wed 21 September
8.30pm Thurs 22 September
9.30pm Fri 23 September
10.30pm Sat 24 September

Adult $40.00*
Seniors 65+ $35.00*
*Service fees apply
R18 Contains Nudity

Seating is General Admission and cabaret style.



A long-weekend of tasteful cabaret, comedy and burlesque shows to tickle your fancy! Seven of Australia’s and New Zealand’s best comedy and cabaret shows – in the TSB Showplace, Devon St, New Plymouth, Taranaki.

Friday 1 June – Sunday 3 June. Only one performance of each show – and only 400 tickets are available to each show. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster. Tickets range in price from $29 to $49 + Ticketmaster booking fee. Buy tickets now.


In Flagrante,
9 – 10.10pm (with interval), TSB Showplace
premium $49, A reserve $39.


In Flagrante »
8 – 26 AUGUST 2013

Category Cabaret
Genres burlesque
Group Flagrant Productions
Venue Assembly Roxy
Times 22:30
Suitability 18+
Duration 1 hour

From the toxic utopia of Our Day Will Come, to a North Korean traffic girl- an exploration of women in uniform as signallers and authority figures, to horses and their wild equestrian spirit, In Flagrante is a show with a vicious little edge. Fusing cabaret and contemporary dance, fetish and theatre, pop iconology and burlesque, and an all out rebellion against female sexual stereotypes, In Flagrante is unique, provocative, sexy … and wickedly funny!

Dancers: Shanelle Lenehan, Maria Munkowits, Lara Fischel Chisholm, Lucy Miles, Amanda McFarlane, Megan Smith

Designer – marketing, costume / props design and props maker – Phil O‘Reilly

Lighting designer- Brad Gledhill

Technical manager – Peter Styles

Costumier – Elizabeth Whiting

Special thanks: Carrie Rae Cunningham, Morgana O’Reilly for feedback through the process, Ian Harman and Sam from Palmerston North for the first workshop of choreographic development , Mary-Anne Thomson, Ryan Croon for finding Waldeck’s album for me and all the dancers including Suzie Broadbent for their input through the process.

Dance , Cabaret , Burlesque ,

A sense of occasion.. and a hint of critique

Review by Dr Debbie Bright 27th Feb 2014

The Chinoiserie Garden, one of numerous themed gardens in the Hamilton Gardens: outdoors on a fine mild evening, Chinese pavilion transformed into stage with curtained backstage, tables and chairs, low lighting, a bar, tasteful and non-intrusive Spanish guitar music. An evening of cabaret is set.  The patrons arrive with their friends, wine and snacks and set themselves up around tables, or buy drinks to take back to their seats. There is a sense of occasion, the ‘exotic’, something definitely outside of the norm. Without programmes, we wait to be entertained, surprised, amused; we expect the unexpected.

The audience lights dim and the stage lights and music come up. A single young woman appears and begins to dance – scantily-clad, erotic, alluring, ‘naughty’, entertaining, amusing, fun. The costume and style are reminiscent of World War II nose art; the song, Make my Day. She is joined by 3 other dancers and the movement sequence is repeated and echoed and fragmented. The show has begun. The dancers change quickly behind the curtain and reappear for the next item. One dance item follows another: adult play-acting, fantasy, flaunting display, titillation – an erotic ‘come on’ – to the music of Austrian cabaret group Waldeck’s Ballroom Stories. We see eroticism, humour, parody, irony, role-playing, classiness, sauciness, and, above all, polished performance. Sophisticated late night entertainment, perhaps seen as less risqué now than in earlier times. Yet, in this setting and time, it still has the power to shock, or at least startle, while providing great fun and entertainment.

Roll out the superlatives! The 5 young women in the company are slick, sleek, buffed and polished, displaying fantastically toned bodies dancing with skill and pizazz.  They portray all the virtuosity and cheekiness expected of women in burlesque: young women who relish their life together, their youth, dance skills and physical attractiveness, and their powerful roles as adult entertainers. Fantastic!

Yet, the work is both performance of and commentary on the perceived roles of women in the first half of the 20th century. As the items roll through and bodies move and are exhibited and displayed with increasing eroticism, I feel as if I am being taken from the polished performing outside, to the girl inside, and back again. The inside girl may feel cynicism, a patronizing superiority, vulnerability, disaffection, fear, anger and powerlessness, and hint at her experiences of the everyday relationships, amusements, needs and discomforts of a normal young woman. Yet, this young woman can also skillfully mask her inner self by plastering a polished insouciant performing face and body firmly back in place. I am seeing the girl inside the burlesque of the first half of the 20th century and before, but I am also seeing a young woman of the second decade of the 21st century, with her sense of history, experience, and perceptions. Theatre that may once have been seen as legitimate erotic entertainment for prosperous men, is now overlaid by our 21st century views of women’s rights, ownership of the body, battered women, abuse, violence, victimisation, political correctness, female slavery, and our discourses of objectification of the body and the male gaze. Yet, I am also aware that this tradition continues today in nightclubs, strip clubs and adult entertainment centres. Some would say that, in such places, men and women continue to be degraded, while others would say that they are places of honourable escapist entertainment, satisfying to both men and women. The whole experience for me is an interweaving of sophistication, eroticism and a comfortable embracing of a life of display and allure, together with cynicism, loss, and everyday banal-ness.  But then, I can’t help it if I view this work from the perspective of a well-educated, heterosexual, twenty-first century woman who is not challenged by her hormones in such a context.

A hit right from its opening in Auckland in 2011, an extended production of In Flagrante toured New Zealand (including Hamilton) in 2012, and was very successful at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in late 2013. In her choreography, Mary-Jane O’Reilly returns to her Limbs Dance Company style of exquisite and highly skilled contemporary dance choreography and performance, blended with irony, humour and the ability to portray engagement with everyday life while poking fun at it. There have been numerous reviews of the work over the years, in different venues. But there doesn’t appear to have been a review of a performance in such a venue as the Chinoiserie Garden. Hamilton, what a treat!


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Discomforting, not challenging; offensive, not provocative

Review by Robbie Nicol 20th Aug 2013

In Flagrante is supposed to be a performance that confronts its audience with male fantasies, fighting sexism with irony and neo-burlesque. That is not what it ends up being. Straight 1950s sexism blended into an often light-hearted show stops the performance from being anything other than offensive.

In one vignette of the fourteen, a woman is dressed as a man (more specifically Alex from A Clockwork Orange) and proceeds to strike his female partner over and over again. The woman pulls the finger at him at the end, and that is it. This is her only rebellion against her aggressor.

The whole production feels like this. You keep waiting for the moment at the end, where they will exaggerate the sexism to the point where it’s clear they realise how wrong it is, or where they will stage some sort of rebellion against the men in the audience. No such subversion ever comes. 

None of this is to take away from Mary Jane O’Reilly as a choreographer of dance. The technical skill of the performers is wonderful, and each piece would have worked if it was part of a show full of similar pieces working towards the same goal.

The audience loves the moment where the women start stripping out of their nurse outfits, only to start getting changed as they presumably would backstage, scratching their behinds and picking their noses. This is the point at which In Flagrante feels balanced and playful: it’s sexist to begin with only to make a joke out of the leering audience.

Sometimes the piece is hilarious conventional theatre (the traffic controller scene is fantastic physical comedy), and at other times it is old-fashioned burlesque. The quieter piece with the flight attendant is simply one of the sexiest things I have ever seen (though I am a straight male). The scene in which Maria Munkowits stretches at the end of two pieces of black material is a beautiful piece of dance – the kind of thing one hopes for in any good neo-burlesque show.

The problem is that while old-fashioned burlesque can blend into contemporary dance or physical comedy, these elements do not blend with confronting scenes of overt sexism. If you are not going to devote your show to that message the whole way through, then those scenes are likely to seem like nothing more than a casual approach to overt sexism. The audience is left uncomfortable, but not challenged; offended, but not provoked. 

I am certain that In Flagrante did not set out to create a sexist piece of theatre. I hope Flagrant Productions finds a clearer voice in their next performance.


Editor September 10th, 2013

Here are links to two other reviews of In Flagrante's Edinburgh Fringe season:

“A thoroughly enjoyable hour of beauty, politics, and down and dirty fun, In Flagrante will not let you down.” 

“… In Flagrante is a sexy, thought-provoking, sensual experience and I can't wait to see where they go from here.” 

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Artistically erotic and cheeky

Review by Ngaire Riley 02nd Jun 2012

The usual sea of white haired women was replaced by a dominance of glossy bald pates and funky clothing at the Theatre Royale New Plymouth, on the 1 June, for a performance of In Flagrante; 13 dances with plenty of cheek.

The performances are pared away: a bare stage, bare bodies and cheeky costumes create slick, sleek and witty explorations of themes like “A Good Wife Always Knows her Place”. The music is quirky and punchy – Ballroom Stories by an Austrian called Waldek – and the lighting exposes and shades the crisp precision of the dancers. All the elements combine to make this a class act.

The dancers’ bodies are sleek, supple and firm. It is surprising how quickly the power of their movements overrides our fascination with their flesh. One of the most striking dances is when four women appear wearing halters and a bit between the teeth, a cheeky midriff belt finished with a bouncy ponytail over the bum and bare feet. Their horse-like movements are realistic and balletic. It seems a contradiction but it happens. There are beautiful dressage pieces where they are exactly in time and then they suddenly break to individual horse mannerisms. I just want it to go on. It’s mesmerising.

The ‘Traffic Officer’ arrives with hat, epaulettes, gloves, shoes and socks and a whistle bouncing between bare breasts. She begins by creating a strong sense of an officer directing traffic then slips her body into languid, sexy, hip-hop and frenetic modes, while maintaining the routine. And all the time we can sense her control of the cars around. It’s quirky, clever and fun.

The wittiest dance of the second half is when a woman shares the making of pikelets with us, in a clear plastic apron.  She speaks the recipe while infusing the making with a growing sense of sexual excitement.  It’s deliciously decadent.

Mary Jane O’Reilly’s choreography is artistically erotic. Here is the (almost) nude woman, working, playing and controlling her life in a world we recognise. What one is left with is the overriding skill and artistry of the dancers – and their beautiful bodies. Don’t miss it. 


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Stylishly sexy, not sleazy

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 15th Sep 2011

For those that have a thing for leather but not in the form of an oval ball, or get excited at the sight of naked flesh other than Sonny Bill Williams stripping off on a rugby field, then In Flagrante, currently playing in the upstairs Gallery at the St James Theatre, is the show to see. 

Taking the upsurge of interest in burlesque and the deviancy associated with In Flagrante, director and choreographer MaryJane O’Reilly, co-founder of the former Limbs Dance Company, has created a delicate yet delicious show that if not overly flaunting female sexuality certainly uses it to make a statement. 

To the laid back music of Klaus Waldeck’s Ballroom Stories six scantily clad females strut their stuff through 11 dance routines with precision and confidence, sometimes in well controlled ensemble numbers balanced against individual solo routines. 

While the overall impression was one of restraint, almost repression, the reserve of the first night audience no doubt contributing to this, and while some numbers had the potential to let go more, be more sexy and erotic, O’Reilly is to be commended for avoiding the obvious sleaziness often associated with such shows. Reminiscent of the Kit Kat dancers in the musical Cabaret, the six dancers gave form to the emotions of each number with poise and grace, imbuing the routines with style if muted somewhat in their eroticism.  

The opening number introduces each of the dancers clad in flesh coloured panties and bra contrasting with sinister looking black bondage type mouth gags, their thrusting pelvic movements and playful uplifting of their breasts to the rhythmic beat of the music setting the scene for what’s to follow.

And each number has them clad in little else, as they move with precision and skill through O’Reilly’s creatively choreographed numbers. Of the solo pieces Megan Smith’s Traffic Girl, is a real delight, original in its form and movement, it is also funny and engaging.

Likewise Lara Fischel Chisholm’s Pikelet, inspired by the Edmonds cookbook, would have every male rush to her kitchen, NZ Master Chef never looking as erotic as this did.

Another interesting piece was Horses whichsaw four of the dances (Shanelle Lenehan, Maria Munkowits, Amanda McFarlane and Megan Smith) as pony girls, complete with bit, lead and tail, their prancing horse like movement humorous as well as evoking images of sexual game playing although even more could have been made of this.

Another piece with a horse theme was Blindfold, inspired by Freda Stark, with Maria Munkowits being put through her paces by Lara Fischel Chisholm in movements that again were gently suggestive of sexual antics.

The final ensemble number brought the show full circle in its style and movement, showing the six dances as just that, dancers with ability that can show off the female form and express, although somewhat contained, female sexuality through creative choreography in an engaging and entertaining show. 
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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Synchronized Undressage!

Review by Greer Robertson 14th Sep 2011

True to its eye-popping advertising material, a near naked female body is decorously adorned in leather bondage with a hint of the equestrian. She scintillatingly poses with a whip.
What are we to think? Is it dance? Is it porn? Is it cabaret? Is it burlesque? Is it worth going to?
Far too often these days, clever marketing can often conceal the true essence of a show or it can set about to blatantly mislead the public.With In Flagrante, which literally means ‘caught in the act’,  however, it is valid imagery. What you see is what you get, a synchronized un-dressage for adult viewing.
Toned and topless, six well rehearsed performers bare their just about all in a movement to music, pseudo presentation a la Penthouse Magazine manner.
Groups of mature adults languish around candlelit tables; a relaxed atmosphere is omnipresent; food, wine and cocktails flow; the girls are on an elevated stage. Sometimes the audience titters. It’s hard to read what they are thinking.
Inspired by all sorts, girls in uniforms ceremoniously portray their characters in 11 short pieces. Whether performing solo or in a more demanding and demonstrative group, they all go about it in a contrived slow motion fashion. The music is good. A girl with a wooden spoon in hand speaks seductively of the process required to make pikelets.
It’s been quite a while since Auckland-based choreographer MaryJane O’Reilly mounted a work. Ten years in fact. Having previously created both large and small works of national acclaim, her wheel of re-invention has somewhat wobbled, in my opinion. O’Reilly’s professionalism and panache for detail is still there ,but the content I feel is contestable.
But, is it a clever ploy to capitalise on the meandering tourist trade as the target market? Or is it an attempt to carve another position on an irreplaceable podium?
Whatever it is, as a theatre aficionado, I feel that it belongs in a dimly lit nightclub bar.
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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