Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

20/03/2012 - 24/03/2012

Production Details

Messy, chaotic, surreal and darkly funny. This show will twist your imagination, like cheese eaten right before bedtime.  

Dear Frankie,
Have you been to space yet? In the future do they have x ray sunglasses? Today I read that snails can live to 40 years old. I bet Gonzalez is an old man now. Today I read that astronauts who go into space come back to earth younger than when they left. Will you come visit me when you go to space?

Dear Frankie,
No and No. Yes, Gonzalez is still alive and well. He particularly enjoys the cabbages. Today was slower than usual and my television has trouble turning on. This concerns me.
I will see you soon I am sure… and look after your teeth.

The Basement mainstage
Tuesday 20 March until Saturday 24 March  
8pm show
Running time: 50 minutes
Tickets:  $20 Full or $15 concession
book at:  

Sam Bunkall
Julia Croft
Alisha Lawrie Paul
Josephine Stewart Tewhiu

Mentored by:  Sophie Roberts

Designed by:
Ella Mizrahi and Celia Harrison (Celery Productions)


Getting Lost in Space

Review by Rosabel Tan 22nd Mar 2012

‘Warning: This entire review might be a spoiler’  

Little Histories of the Life Ordinary follows a girl named Frankie whose deepest desire is to travel to space. You’ll never be lonely up there, you see, and the moon is made of cabbage, so you’ll never go hungry either. Also, the Milky Way is made of milk. Problems – all of them: solved.

Devised by Sam Bunkall, Julia Croft, Alisha Lawrie-Paul and Josephine Stewart Tewhiu, Little Histories presents us with a series of vignettes showing Frankie at different stages of her life. Stewart Tewhiu plays her as a precocious, lonely child whose imagination is as infinite as the defences she’s constructing to protect herself. Quietly terrified of the world around her, she spends her days preparing for the arrival of the wormhole, which will take her into space with her pet snail, Gonzalez – who would rather spend his days reading his English to Maori dictionary. [More


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Disparate narratives held together by existential glue

Review by Nik Smythe 21st Mar 2012

To my knowledge no one has ever before dared to attempt a split-level stage in the Basement Theatre space, until now.  The production design department, credited only as Celery Productions, have constructed a Bohemian sort of set, resembling a mini Tennessee Williams set but partitioned into four separate spaces, one for each lonely character.

There’s the schoolgirl (Josephine Stewart Tewhiu) camped out on a mattress in the attic, with her best friend Gonzales the snail, in whom she confides all, and with whom she plans to ride the next wormhole back to Gonzales’ home world, the moon. 

There’s the girl in the office uniform with the telephone headset (Julia Croft), who alternates between effusively regaling her lukewarm, evasive colleagues, blankly fielding incoming calls and frantically chasing after the source of the voice in her head which seems to be promising some kind of absolution.

There’s the frowning, decrepit old creature in the wooden armchair (Alisha Lawrie-Paul), who – in her laborious, almost Butoh-like geriatric fashion – also responds to imperceptible sounds, sights and thoughts and panics outright when the invasive fridge hum stops suddenly, as they do.

And perched away in some kind of cubby-hole type observatory, is the eccentric astronomer in the fluffy slippers (Sam Bunkall), muttering whimsically as he painstakingly services his telescope, vainly attempts to make time with the lukewarm, evasive mail girl, and listens to talkback radio as it discusses an eclectic range of issues, from astronomy to snails as both garden pests and revered Aztec moon-creatures, and on to hermaphrodites in general.

The absence of writer/director credits implies this is a devised work, deftly dramatised and interwoven with the guidance of mentor Sophie Roberts. 

Calvin Hudson’s segmented lighting design draws focus between the four protagonists isolated existences.  While none encounter any of the others in the course of their amusing solitary dramas, it is apparent they all connect either ethereally or macro-ecologically, as they each strive toward some ambiguous, inevitable event. 

The message, as far as I can distinguish from the endearing characters’ momentary soul journeys (and one prominent scientists’ radio talkback contribution), is that we are all made of stars; that is to say, the atoms which make up all our bodies, and everything else, have traversed the universe during the billions of years it’s existed. 

This and numerous other existential queries are the glue that holds the disparate narratives together, and engagingly skilful performances – natural, sympathetic and easy to relate to despite their idiosyncrasies – are what keep us watching. 


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