KICK ASS PLAYS – Nine | Friend of the Deceased | The Last Nickel

BIZDOJO Co.Space, 155B Karangahape Road, Auckland

05/03/2013 - 09/03/2013

Auckland Fringe 2013

Production Details


Hot new Auckland talent, hot international material. KICKASS PLAYS, written by award winning New York Playwright Jane Shepard is a 100 minute showcase of three incredibly diverse one acts, ranging from hilarious to harrowing, performed with live original music at an exciting first time Fringe venue, March 5 – 9, 2013 (8pm).

NINE – Two Women locked in a cell fight each other with wit and words to stay alive. 

FRIEND OF THE DECEASED – Her cheating husband is dead, when a strange young woman arrives his widow plays a twisted game to exact her revenge. 

THE LAST NICKEL – Two sisters, a bed, a trombone, a host of bizarre puppets and “To Sir With Love” make a night they will never forget. 

The Kick Ass Co-op is a new venture from Grae Burton, producer of the award winning sell out Auckland Fringe season of MAN BITS, a risqué comedy/drama about a men’s knitting group. This time the focus is featuring Auckland’s up and coming female talent on stage. “There are no better scripts to do that with than the Kick Ass Plays. Shepard is certainly a leader in creating gritty, real, often hilarious, often heart-breaking characters and stories. And with Co.Space being an exciting new venue for fringey theatre and performance, these are shows audiences will love.” 

Returning to the stage for KICK ASS PLAYS is MAN BITS only female star, Breigh Fouhy (Young Cheryl, Outrageous Fortune) alongside new-comers Christina Cortesi, Christina Divine and American actress Laura Irish making her Auckland stage debut. 

Featuring live music performance between acts and showcasing the BIZDOJO Co.Space on K’Road as a hot new fringe theatre venue, this show will be a must see of The Auckland Fringe. 

“Gutsy… effective… atmospheric.” FAIRFAX

“Poignant, sad, harrowing, funny, throat gulping.” AMAZON

Auckland Fringe runs from 15 February to 10 March 2013. For more Auckland Fringe information go to

KICK ASS PLAYS by Jane Shepard
March 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 at 8pm
BIZDOJO Co.Space 155B Karangahape Road
Phone/Text Bookings on 027 4723 669 or Online at

Intriguing life-affirming trilogy

Review by Gus Simonovic 07th Mar 2013

It’s almost refreshing to see a piece of, kind of, conventional theatre as a part of the Fringe (actually three pieces to be more precise). The kind in which one or more actors step on stage portraying some sort of a character and through monologue and dialogue follow some kind of a plot, creating some sort of coherent story line generated from conflict and raising interest in a particular topic. The sort of show that is sort of strange among the Fringe sort.

Co.Space is a perfect setting for it too: a lot of space, of which only a fraction is used for the performance, in order to create an intimate atmosphere and bring the audience as close to the action as possible, I guess. That kind of works, apart from the uncomfortable seats making sitting through the three-play show a challenge.

Producer Grae Burton, director of two of the plays, has a very hands on role on the night, being on the door, managing the comps list and taking tickets, showing everybody to the bar and to their seats, MC-ing the evening’s program and making sure smokers are back in time for the performance. Great job, although I feel that the MC-ing part is unnecessary and breaks up that “intimate atmosphere” a little by e.g. announcing the next act or a song, where the audience would be perfectly fine seeing what’s next and spontaneously moving towards the action.

Anyway, the action starts with a ‘CRY’ song, written and beautifully performed by Christina Divine, followed by two characters appearing on stage in chains. They are chained to their fears and pain, bound by their friendship and kept alive by their conversation (literally). Even though they don’t know each other’s names, and maybe don’t even have one, they grab our attention with well-paced dialogue about life and death. This first of the three short plays, NINE, ends with the death of one, leaving us wanting more …

… and more we get. A funeral is the setting for FRIEND OF THE DECEASED, the second one-act play in this intriguing Jane Shepard’s trilogy. An unusual meeting by the grave of two mourners: a widow who is not sad at all, but angry. And a ‘friend of the deceased’ who has much more to mourn, and does it better. Through a set of cleverly written and executed interactions they manage to become friends; friends of living.

After another 15 minute break, THE LAST NICKEL brings the whole cast together for a ‘good night story’ with songs and puppets. Breigh Fouhy and Brooke Petersen deliver a lively and believable ‘two sisters story’ involving angels and gods, devils and chocolate milk.

The puppetry of Christina Cortesi and Christina Divine adds to the liveliness and believability. Switching from angels to devils, they make sure we notice there is hardly any difference (apart from costumes) in what those archetypal characters represent and deliver.

“You killed the Angel!” marks the last ‘death’, the main connecting element (apart from life) in tonight’s well developed trilogy. And it leaves us wanting more: more life.  

Exploring a primal human need for communication, these Kick Ass Plays ignite that so much needed inner-dialogue; and even more important, the need to feel. Life needs space and time for silence or reflection. Without that, life dies. The Kick Ass Plays inspire us to keep communicating and feeling.  

Seeing a show like this reminds me of a remark made by performance artist Marina Abramovic: “There is a huge difference between performance and theatre. In theatre knife is a prop and blood is red. In performance knife is the knife and blood is blood.”

To my delight, the Kick Ass crew makes a great effort in stepping away from ‘the theatre’ and as close to ‘performance’ as possible. Without using knives or blood. 


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