In Flagrante

The Basement, Auckland

27/04/2011 - 27/04/2011

Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland

13/10/2012 - 13/10/2012

Theatre Royal, 78 Rutherford Street, Nelson

27/11/2012 - 28/11/2012

Mayfair Theatre, 100 King Edward Street, Kensington, Dunedin

22/03/2014 - 22/03/2014

Mashina Lounge, Christchurch Casino, Christchurch

01/10/2014 - 02/10/2014

Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent, Havelock North Village Green, Havelock North

26/10/2018 - 27/10/2018

The Body Festival 2014

Tempo Dance Festival 2012

Hawkes Bay Arts Festival 2018

Production Details

Bridled, saddled, and ready to pounce, the girls from In Flagrante, fresh from the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival, quickly set the stage for an evening of skin and sass. This isn’t your grandpa’s burlesque. MaryJane O’Reilly’s athletic cast turn the tradition on its head with a contemporary take on female sexual stereotypes. And heads turn when these ladies flaunt their leather garb, bridles and marching girls uniforms.

“This is a celebration, an extravaganza. A thoroughly enjoyable hour of beauty, politics, and down and dirty fun, In Flagrante will not let you down. Whether you’re a veteran of cabaret or a newcomer to the genre, this is an accessible performance that’s got teeth, but knows how to purr. And though you may think you’re the one at the wheel, these women will remind you that they’re the ones setting the course.” William Glenn  – Edinburgh Fringe Review


2014:  The Body Festival, Christrchurch

 “Sexy, sophisticated, knives out choreography… An hour of beauty, politics, and down and dirty fun” William Glenn – Fringe Review (UK)

A real hit at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival InFlagrante (once grounds for divorce) is a band of protean, antipodean women. Modern Amazons who set out to challenge and dismember female stereotypes… head on.

In a series of highly sexualised and deeply satiric comedic pop art vignettes they act out prevailing fantasies and fetishes embedded in the popular imagination.

The result is an exhilarating and provocative show of female empowerment and high impact dance theatre.

Company            Flagrant Productions

Venue                   Mashina Lounge at Christchurch Casino, 30 Victoria St (Peterborough St. entrance).

Date/Time         Wed 1st & Thurs 2nd October at 8.00pm

Duration             60 minutes

Tickets          VIP (cabaret style seating) $50 each or $280 for a table of six, $40 General

Admission or ph 0800 327 484, booking fees apply.

Food and beverage packages also available please contact the festival office for more details.

Hawkes Bay Arts Festival 2018
Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent
Fri Oct 26th : 7pm
Sat Oct 27th : 9.30pm
Adult:  $52
Concession:  $47

Dancers 2014
Shanelle Lenehan, Maria Munkowitz,  Molly McDowall,  Sofia McIntyre, Georgie Goater; 

Previous dancers:

Amanda MacFarlane, Lara Fischel-Chisholm, Lucy Miles; Megan Hughes.

Music: Waldeck, album - Ballroom Stories

Designer/props maker: Phil O'Reilly
Lighting designer: Brad Gledhill
Costumier: Elizabeth Whiting
Technical manager: Peter Style
Production manager: Mitchell Turei 

Performed by Maria Munkowits, Lara Fischel Chisholm, Sofia McIntyre, Lucy Lynch and Julie Van Renen. 

Cabaret , Burlesque , Dance ,

1 hour 15 mins

Fantastically clever work

Review by Kim Buckley 27th Oct 2018

In Flagrante is erotica for the thinking person.  Staged as Neo-Burlesque, this unique merge of highly sexualised movement, comedic sketches and fantasised ‘normality’ is an intense mix of power, vulnerability, innocence, and knowledge, that could hoodwink the patriarchy.

This work is created and produced by MaryJane O’Reilly and Phil O’Reilly and performing tonight are Maria Munkowits, Lara Fischel Chisholm, Sofia McIntyre, Lucy Lynch, and Julie Van Renen. The costumes are divine and the music score irresistible.

This show is a compelling watch for anyone wanting to witness the return of sexual empowerment to women. Fantastically clever work.


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Tableaux that mix femme fatale with fetish

Review by Emily Napolitano 02nd Oct 2014

In Flagrante, literally ‘in blazing,’ is a Latin euphemism for being caught in the sexual act. Five cheeky dancers take a satirical look at iconic sexist pop imagery and female stereotypes. Wickedly playful and decidedly sexy, In Flagrante offers 15 polished tableaux that mix femme fatale with fetish in a romp that takes us from the 1940s to the present.

The show begins with the entire cast in black latex stockings and mouth guards in ‘Our Day Will Come.’ Dancers appear and disappear on stage, performing identical and repetitive staccato movements with necessarily expressionless faces. This dark opening statement regarding women as sex objects, expected to fit the mould and conform to expectations, has me looking forward to what the rest of the show will bring.

Dark and edgy at times, In Flagrante explores weighty issues such as domestic violence (‘Black and Blue’) and deep fetish (‘Nurses’) while also finding room for sharply playful humour. ‘To Horses’ features dancers fully harnessed and bridled with mouth bits and complete with ears and tails. ‘Whip,’ a spoken word piece utilizing text from a 1950s treatise on domestic bliss, is a brazenly sassy parody of the perfect wife versus the whore.

Humorous and raunchy, elegant and sophisticated, In Flagrante is sleek and provocative ‘erotica noir.’  All five dancers display exceptional technique with beautifully executed contemporary and jazz dancing. Strong use of choreographic elements supports and enhances the themes within each piece, while distinctive movements are carried throughout the show. Minimal, often stark, costuming allows the dancers and their subject matter to take centre stage.

In this nicely balanced mix of group numbers, duets, and solos, each dancer has a chance to shine. ‘Blindfold’ is a beautifully streamlined, gorgeously elegant look at the 1940s Golden Girl. A traffic cop, an air hostess, and a magician’s assistant are some of the audacious and unashamed characters on display. Highlights include clever slapstick physical comedy in which a strip of pubic hair is used to transform the dancer into Hitler and then into Charlie Chaplin, an hilariously sexy rendition of a recipe for making pikelets, and a perfectly executed slow motion martial arts fight.

Choreographer and Artistic Director Mary Jane O’Reilly creates a show perfect for an evening of bold and impudent fun, featuring music from ‘Ballroom Stories’ by Waldeck. 


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Dance element outweighs burlesque

Review by Hannah Molloy 23rd Mar 2014

Burlesque or dance? Gender politics or entertainment? Clever or awkward? I think perhaps MaryJane O’Reilly’s In Flagrante is all of these and probably some other things as well. It is a slick performance and the sub-texts are all there for the taking, leaving the audience with plenty to talk about.

The capacity audience at Dunedin’s Mayfair Theatre is very cheerful and seems to be excited and ready for a fun and provocative show. They seem get what they are looking for as the applause at the end is sustained, unusual for a Dunedin audience which usually is out of its seats pretty smartly, and the dancers seem pleased to have been called back for some more.

From a burlesque perspective, the girls are gorgeous and spicy, if a little hesitant in some parts. There isn’t a great deal of audience engagement, which I usually expect from a burlesque show – the bawdiness and sweatiness of an unruly audience revelling in the near nudity. A Dunedin crowd tends to be fairly conservative though, however diverse it is – I’m not actually sure I’ve ever been part of a truly bawdy crowd here (sweaty most definitely!).

The burlesque element is much less than the dance element for me though. The choreography allows the beautifully trained dancers to show their skill, and they really are lovely to watch. The dominatrix/submissive piece is easily the most beautiful and evocative and the one where the dancer seems to feel most in her own skin. It is dark and subdued but elegant as well. A sense of the power that can come from submission comes through very strongly – perhaps the only piece where I sensed the intent I have read so much about of this performance.

On the other hand, the Cancan is exuberant and fun. I love the denim shorts and saucy red knickers under mismatched skirts – one made out of an old New Zealand flag (or maybe Australian – I couldn’t count the stars…). The dancers look as though they are having fun and the audience responds with whistles and cat calls.

The reference to domestic violence seems to be treated too flippantly for an issue that is so prevalent in this country. The mood in the audience changed too –  this sequence didn’t quite fit in with the rest. I do understand that beating women is a sexual fantasy for some, and I get that the ‘man’ is made to look like a buffoon with his clown-like steps, but I simply don’t think it’s a topic to make so light of. Perhaps if the woman had found strength or had some sort of revenge (stabbing a voodoo doll with her hairpin is all very well but I’m not sure how practical it is) or had even been offered some support, something, it would have sat better with me.

I wonder sometimes if timing and symmetry of lines is less important to choreographers and directors than it used to be. I often find a crookedly placed row of arms or asynchronously moving legs to be distracting from the purity or the intent of the movement.

I’m pleased I saw In Flagrante, as I’d heard and read so much about it , and I do love to watch beautiful dancing, but I’m not convinced it lives up to the media hype for me. It’s tricky for anything to live up to marketing spiel so it is good to go and form my own view.


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Provocative, contemporary, edgy and scantily clad

Review by Janet Whittington 29th Nov 2012

Just before the start of the Nelson performance of MaryJane O’Reilly’s In Flagrante, the capacity crowd chats noisily, excitedly. Cabaret-style tables set up in front of the permanent seating is most uncommon for our Theatre Royal. At half-time, that excited buzz is muted, and at the beginning of the second half, despite the power of the show, several seats are left empty. And I wonder why.

Perhaps it has something to do with the difference between the classic style of burlesque – elaborate costumes decorated with pretty feathers and sequins, carefully coiffed hairdos, and a certain coquettishness in performance –  and the very contemporary style now being performed in New Zealand cities?  Perhaps the section of our audience who departed at half time had expected the former, and was put outside their comfort zone by what was presented? I guess we will never know.

The dictionary I looked it up in describes it as: “…a humorous and provocative stage show featuring slapstick humor, comic skits, bawdy songs, striptease acts, and scantily clad female chorus…” And that is what O’Reilly delivers although you may debate about the degree of striptease, as they were mostly scantily clad throughout the show. But although it evokes the requisite emotions and themes, her neo-burlesque evokes the edgy, uncomfortable side of sex – sex as power and women as chattels, and involves shocking contemporary elements  – darker deviant sex; a dominatrix, whips, leather, animals, disgust, spite, power.

Some unprepared patrons leave. Most stay. We are all in the deep end. It is uncomfortable for women to sit through.

On the lighter side, burlesque humour is most prevalent, with two skits featuring Molly McDowall and Megan Hughes. Both parody the 1950’s take on the perfect housewife and home baker, accompanied by the sanitized trite text of the time, delivered teasingly, and evocatively and humorously misconstruing every meaning. Licking my fingers next time I bake will never be the same again!

Still the war of dominance scores every try. Blindfold’ with Maria Munkowits straining at the reins of her controller Megan Hughes impresses and is the stand out piece in this respect. And just before half time, the magician’s assistant scores a pivotal goal. Amanda Mcfarlane is delightful, prancing around on stage, in “The Great ex Redondo”. The assistant finally has the stage to herself, pulling rabbits out of hats – and Redondo’s severed head. I get it!

The mood lifts in the second half. The wit rises readily from the dancers. We laugh and cheer them through to the Cancan, dresses firmly clenched in their teeth, eyes glaring at us, the frayed denim shorts visible underneath.

O’Reilly does not aim for a Spielberg/Disney delivery which pleases everyone all of the time, and her burlesque blurs the borders which differentiate “artistic” from “exotic” dance. Consequently, a mind-shift is required, and if you find this kind of experience disturbing, this performance is probably not for you.

On the other hand, our appreciative audience enjoyed the fun of the titillation, the skill of the physicality of the moves, and the dancer’s skill in expression as they pieced together the story on stage. Facial and body expression is the main feature of the second half. The performers flourished character and opinion throughout. This contrasted sharply with the austere first half where they had deadpan expression or the faces covered with masks or strapped with bridles.  I was prepared for the blurred genre and therefore not disturbed, and am still enjoying it the next day.

Last, I must compliment O’Reilly on her choice of music. Super cool Austrian lounge group Waldeck’s album ‘Ballroom Stories’. I need a copy of that album now. It is the icing on this cake that makes it whole.


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Girls on a platter

Review by Jack Gray 29th Apr 2011

Sex. There I said it.
Now, let’s talk about In Flagrante – the show billed as Mary Jane’s (O’Reilly of Limbs, Commonwealth Games 1990 Opening, Auckland Dance Company and Tempo Dance Festival fame) “deviant” new take on the Burlesque revival.
Earlier this year, MJ’s open call for dancers for her newest idea (inspired by the art of ‘Burlesque’) led to auditions perfect for the crossover commercial slash contemporary dance type of "girl". Rumours circulated of some girls dropping into the splits to impress, and as expected, a “felinic” (as opposed to phallic?) a-rising of tensions (seen and unseen) between the scantily clad as their inner ambitions became disrobed.
[If you have ever watched “Girls of the Playboy Mansion” or “America’s Next Top Model” you’ll know that invisible feminine divisiveness naturally surfaces when women are housed together, apparently making for compelling viewing.]   
The casting process whittled down the numbers, and MJ’s original plan to have a troupe of five dancers with a few extra replacements (“on the bench” so to speak) ended up as a dedicated group of six dancers rehearsing part-time, here and there, towards the creation of her own unique Burlesquey, Cabaret-ish, Modern Dance-ish style integration.
[Commendably, MJ and her husband Phil, invested their own finances, time and dedication towards getting the project up and running without any funding assistance.]
Sufficiently aroused (my curiosity that is), I made initial enquiries about the show’s progress. Keeping their mystery intact, the dancers teasingly suggested that costume options possibly included a “merkin” (pubic wig), equestrian riding gear and other fetishes. As the murmurs tickled my fanciful ears – I decided not to “kill the cat” (by peeking into rehearsals), willingly biding my time until a first full unveiling.
[Preview night was performed twice in the dim, dungeon-like black box of “The Basement” to a sell-out crowd of interested friends, flatmates, family, dancers and general punters].
The choreographer’s main motivation (aside from giving dancers employment opportunities) is simply to entertain audiences, by banking on Burlesque’s current popularity (with the recent movie, niche shows and performers aplenty), and providing a perfect vehicle to guarantee “bums on seats” by putting “bums on stage” (and also in your face, for that matter).
[Who doesn’t want (more) bang for their buck?]
“In flagrante”  (latin for “blazing”) is sometimes colloquially used as a euphemism for couples being caught in the act of sexual intercourse. So of course the way you might react to the show probably has something to do with how you view, experience or react to the notion of SEX.
While waiting in the mad throng queuing to collect tickets for the 10pm show, I had a chance to gossip with those warmed up from the 8pm session.
[“There were so many different people in the front row from gay to straight to bi, men, women…it’s the kinda show that makes some people get turned off or others get hard – there’s something for everybody” said one lady friend. Her male companion summed it up in one word: “Erotic”.]
Anticipation mounted.
The show unfolds as a series of short dances (with Limbs-style repetition of motifs) all performed to a perfectly easy listening jazz album with an evocative female voice.
The introduction has a strong beat matched by a sturdy, shocking blonde (Dietrich-esque) who wears a mouth guard, thigh high leather boots and bra and panties. Confronting the audience and moving in slow, muscular actions – the playful pelvic thrust and hands gripping breasts – basically puts "the girls" on the platter for a voyeuristic menu.
Each performer makes their separate entrances, like a sushi train of female flesh. Naturally you can’t help but notice slight differences – a few pounds here, an abdominal muscle there, tall or short, blonde or brunette.
The show evenly disperses solo moments between the group pieces. There is no narrative or thread as such – and the sequence of dances could easily be pulled apart and performed in any which way.
Some of the solos need more refinement or perhaps a roughing up. Striking a balance between sexiness and something staged is the rather elusive (and rightfully so) ingredient in this chamber of lingerie.
There are differences in the way each girl projects her particular example of femininity (or in one case ‘masculinity as the solo was performed in male garb with top hat and cane). The most captivating of these solos is Megan Smith’s brilliant “Police Officer Hot-Dogging”. Choreographically the least indulgent, her dance mixes precision timing with comedic elements to leave the audience wanting more.
Group dances are more problematic. What is most important about this type of performance is how the dancers play the audience and invite them in — the performer’s ability to do this is crucial. The four galloping ponies dance, for example, sees them prettily trotting while gagging on their bits, and though some of the dancers rise to the moment, it doesn’t manage to take us from the serious to the sublime. Perhaps with more performances everyone’s understanding of what they are presenting will develop .
[If there was a pony contest of this kind performed by a gaggle of drag queens, by contrast, the audience would be in stitches yet somehow mildly titillated with the irreverent mockery of sexuality.]
So ultimately did the audience get the feeling of being caught, or catching them in the act?
I suppose it depends on the sensibility of the viewer, and their response to the level the show is designed for. In my humble opinion, the sex appeal contained is harmless, easy going, mild fun. Was I entertained? Yes. Shocked? No. I enjoyed elements. There is definitely room to keep pushing and playing with the boundaries of comfortabilty. It certainly wasn’t ever “deviant”.
[I’ve seen a panty-less Alexa Wilson wielding an axe onstage on one occasion (glimpsed, actually, because I had my eyes closed the whole time and was squinting to check – but that might qualify.]  
I happen to think the naked body and female form to be a gorgeous thing. I find the oddest things sexy. I wonder if the girls could get more in your face somehow? Demand something more of the audience? (A friend’s boyfriend wouldn’t come because he said “I’d rather pay $20 at The White House?”).
[Last year’s “Cabaret” by the Auckland Theatre Company was a complete hoot and so so sexy! Maybe these girls need a ringleader, or someone who gets the audience ‘in the mood’?]
I said to my friend afterwards (who happens to be a hot brown chick) “That show needed some gravy on the taties” and she replied eyes gleaming, “Give me that whip!”
In the bar afterwards, a viewer felt like she had just thumbed through a woman’s magazine and that it “objectified” women and had revealed too much too soon, whilst another found it exciting and liberating! 
The joys of pleasing people eh? As they say – “Different Strokes for Different Folks!”
[The show promises to return at some point during the year – possibly around Tempo Dance Festival time.]
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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