KEEP OUT OF MY BOX (and other useful advice)

Basement Theatre Foyer, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

12/02/2015 - 19/02/2015

Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, Scotland

06/08/2016 - 29/08/2016

Auckland Fringe 2015

Production Details


‘Everyone loves the box, but visitors never stay long. If only we took a little time to get to know our local box, we’d see through her ticketty facade. This show has as much comedy, song and dance as you can squeeze into the teeny tiny Basement Box Office. It’ll probably be a Box Office smash.’

KEEP OUT OF MY BOX (and other useful advice) running from 11-19 February as part of Auckland Fringe, is written and performed by Torum Heng – who actually works in The Basement Theatre’s Box Office anyway. Some people would say it’s lazy, that she didn’t walk just a few metres and perform in an actual theatre. But she thinks they can shove it up their jumper.

There is more to The Basement than just a theatre. Sure, there are the good looking bar staff, with hipster buttoned shirts and perfectly manicured beards, lounging the length of the foyer. But there, in the corner, overlooked, stuck in a box like Jack, is that smiling stranger selling tickets. Not that you actually visit her, because you blimmin’ bought tickets online didn’t you? And then didn’t even print them! But she is still there, waiting, smiling, hopeful, just in case. 

This is a show for all the lonely people in box offices, and for all the people who stopped to wonder what it might feel like to be in her box. 

And, just to spite you, you can’t buy tickets for it! Because it’s free.  

You are welcome xx 

KEEP OUT OF MY BOX (and other useful advice) plays
Dates:  12, 18 – 19 February, 10pm
Venue:  The Basement Theatre’s Foyer, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
Tickets:  Free Fringe Show – general admission 

Auckland Fringe 2015 is an open access arts festival where anything can happen. It provides a platform for practitioners and audiences to unite in the creation of form forward experiences which are championed in an ecology of artistic freedom. The 2015 programme will see work happening all over the show, pushing the boundaries of performance Auckland wide from February 11 to March 1. 

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016  
Aug 5-15, 17-29
Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)
55 minutes
Suitability: 16+ (Restriction)
Warnings: Contains adult content, strong language, and some nudity
Book here

Theatre , Site-specific/site-sympathetic ,

55 mins

Entertaining energy and charisma

Review by Acushla-Tara Kupe 24th Aug 2016

Keep Out of My Box (and Other Useful Advice) is a sweet show about female sexuality, specifically liberation, told through the setting of a self-help meeting. We meet Norma at the door as she hands us badges and ticks off the menial tasks on her to-do list. While waiting for latecomers we are kept entertained with friendly and at times very funny banter. Before the ‘meeting’ begins we already have a good sense of who Norma is: adorable, geeky and oh-so conservative.

The setting is the Gilded Balloon box office, reconstructed on stage with a few more sequins than I remember. Norma wears the staff t-shirt and once everyone is in, paper and pens handed out, and badges are on we start the meeting.

Over the course of the next hour we are introduced to several other characters, all female, all attending this meeting for different reasons. Their outcomes are the same regardless of past events and soon it becomes clear where the show is headed.

We meet the recovering lover, the sexually liberated one, the experimental actor, the obsessive-yet-confused one and the sisterhood preacher, before coming back to our host to see how their revelations have affected her. Often I doubt the attendance of a few of these characters as they appear to already be sure of their sexuality. If not, they find themselves liberated rather quickly during their stay. More attention to the opinions and purpose of these characters would help to create a more dynamic discussion within the piece.

Each character has a song to describe their feelings which gives something of a structure to the show. Although it’s no surprise where we end up, the stories are sweet, the songs charming and it is altogether an enjoyable show. 

Torum Heng portrays each of the characters with honesty and we are on her side from the get go. She uses known characters to help us quickly identify who we’re watching before hooking us with delightful quirkiness. Heng’s improvised banter throughout demonstrates her skill as a comedic performer and has us giggling from beginning to end. Costume and hair changes are subtle and quick, helping us to follow who we’re watching without boring us with long transitions.

Lighting is practical which suits the setting well. I would have loved to have had some kind of backing track or onstage instrument played during the songs. At times the rhythms of modern tunes feel strange without anything to support the voice. 

Keep Out of My Box (and Other Useful Advice) is simple and predictable but thanks to the energy and charisma of Heng it is still very entertaining. The arguments underpinning the action are nothing new but Heng’s approach makes them more accessible and we laugh where others often argue. I would love to see this show again once the presence of each character at the box office is made more credible and their ‘journeys’ are developed beyond predictability.


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Here's some free advice for you

Review by Matt Baker 20th Feb 2015

Spend enough time at The Basement and you’ll get to know the staff there. Spend even more time and you’ll find that some of them have talents beyond your expectations. Such is the case with box office manager and actress Torum Heng. I’ve seen Heng on stage before, but it wasn’t until she wrote and performed her own solo show that she had the opportunity shamelessly indulge in and truly beguile me with her talents, and I’m almost embarrassed that I didn’t recognise them earlier. 

Performed entirely in The Basement foyer box office, this site-specific piece is entirely accessible for all audiences; a five-character, one-woman show with all the right parts for a post-fringe production. Heng’s vocal work and physical particularisations are both subtle and strong enough to create clear, identifiable characters, and this expert balance is supported with an excellent script, brimming with hilarious metaphors and wordplay, and truly original musical compositions, which climax with a titillating final number. While a comedy through and through, Heng plants dramatic gems throughout her allegorical text, but does so without replacing the humour or attempting to force unwarranted pathos. [More]  

[Note: Unfortunate circumstances led to theatreview being unable to review this show.]


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