Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

15/08/2015 - 29/08/2015

Production Details

A true story

Off the back of their outstanding success with Earnest and Titus, Fractious Tash bring you Not Psycho, a tale of theft, video stores, shower curtains and murder. Taking on the violent world of the slasher-genre, Director Benjamin Henson blurs the lines between what’s real and what’s simply an obsession with filmic fantasy. Not Psycho claws its way onto Q Loft’s stage August 15th – 29th

It’s slippery, isn’t it, the truth? But nevertheless, it must be told. He awakes in limbo, trapped in a world built through an obsession with film. A knife. A blond. A vicious scream. It’s all sounding so familiar, yet not at all. In constant danger, in persistent confusion, in desperate pursuit of trust in a realm without rules – how can escape be found if you’re the guiltiest of all?

From the company that brought you the dark in Titus, and the light in Earnest, comes an altogether different experience: a devised re-edit and mash up of the slasher film trope with a real-life story too twisted to be true. Reality blurs – the film is the truth – the truth is a fiction – at stake are the lives of two young women. 

With an exceptionally talented ensemble of six, Not Pyscho sees Julia Croft, Kevin Keys, Bryony Skillington, Edwin Beats, Virginia Frankovich, and Donogh Reese bring alive all manner of characters. 

The forces behind the innovative theatre company taking Auckland by storm, Director Benjamin Henson and Producer Jason Hodzelmans, have jumped from strength to strength. Now Fractious Tash embark on the next stage of their development, tackling what they call a confronting piece in which the audience will be drawn deep into its dark mysteries.

This will be the first Fractious Tash piece devised by the company of six actors and written entirely by Ben. Ben’s cutting-edge approach to retaining the filmic qualities of Hitchcock-inspired classics will cut across the mediums to push theatre conventions to its limits.

Innovative set conception by designer of the moment, Christine Urquhart, will instil that voyeuristic feel we love to hate, and hate to love from the slasher film experience. And that’s all that can be said at this stage, without giving the game away. 

Compulsive but unnerving – Hitchcock but not – this is Fractious Tash’s most ambitious experiment yet. 

“An impeccably-realised spectacle of pride and panache.” – Pantograph Punch (Earnest)

“ … which can only be attributed to Henson’s uncanny ability to push comedic boundaries above and beyond your wildest expectations.” – Theatrescenes (Ghastlydash Grimm)

Not Psycho plays 
Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen Street, Auckland
Performances: 15 – 29 August, 8.30pm
Tickets: $28 – $34 (booking fees may apply)
Tickets available through Q Theatre – 09 309 9771 or 

Theatre ,

Expect the unexpected

Review by Sharu Delilkan and Tim Booth 17th Aug 2015

A Benjamin Henson show is always distinctly and recognisably his, and Not Psycho is no exception. I must admit that each time I see a Henson play I realise more and more that his creative mind is that of an evil genius. Having seen his most recent creation Ghastly Dash Grimm: A Tale Of Unease, Henson might be in danger of becoming Auckland’s very own Tim Burton but then again who knows what he’s planning to write next!

That being said his plays always have his stamp and quirky take on the well-known. Henson’s ability to take the tried and tested and turn it on its head, keeps Henson junkies coming back for more. 

Not Psycho is a clever premise, intelligently delivered, which highlights our desire to please others and displays which moral lines we choose to or not to cross in the process. [More]


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More provoking than perfect and for the adventurous

Review by Vanessa Byrnes 16th Aug 2015

Not Psycho is a provocative new piece of theatre from the always-fine Benjamin Henson and Fractious Tash. It has excellent production values and dances between being a thriller and horror, engaging both the sense of anticipation and the apparent actuality of violence that distinguishes the two genres.  

Taking Hitchcock’s film as the negative-reference in its title locates the play around Psycho and other films from Hitchcock’s canon of works. This is a clever opportunity to mix actual events with fictional … and there’s the rub for the basis of this story, which essentially explores the thin line between love/hate and reality/fantasy. Q Theatre Loft set in traverse becomes an intimate space to witness the myriad of characters from these films and those from Henson’s own imagination.   

Matthew (a focused and very present Edwin Beats) is the central character, a naked and vulnerable being subjugated to violence from unnamed perpetrators. This torture sets up the act of viciousness that takes place at the end of the play. It’s a nice setup for the backstory we so strongly need to make sense of the last 15 minutes of frenzied action. 

There’s the obligatory Blonde (or three), a knife, lots of blood, a shower, the mad mother and the sidekicks; archetypical stock characters who appear as if in Matthew’s imagination and then, eventually, in real and shocking reality. Julia Croft, Virginia Frankovich, Kevin Keys, Donogh Rees and Bryony Skillington all pepper the story with convincing and dynamic characters.

Norman Bates famously said, “A boy’s best friend is his mother.” Rees’ mother is a vision of drunken vice, while Skillington provides solid, moving work throughout the show; her ‘sandwiches’ joke is a scene-stealer. Croft’s scene as a Doctor with a power tool to Matthew’s head is grotesque and wonderfully committed (in both senses). This is a superb cast who commit fullY to the physical and psychological violence on display.

Ben Henson is always a clever and articulate director. Here, he also brings his writing chops to play, and for the most part this is provocative and highly engaging work. I do feel it needs a bit longer and more work to iron out the links between questions raised in the narrative structure. It took me a while to understand the rules of play here, to determine locale and what was ‘real’ for Matthew, as well as its apparent connection to actual events. But that’s a small quibble.   

With set design by Christine Urquhart, excellent lighting by Rachel Marlow and innovative sound design by Thomas Press, this is a beautifully produced show. This show would not be out of place in a London theatre of similar capacity, and I think that point alone celebrates the bravery and high production values on offer here.

This is a play that’s more provoking than perfect; for the adventurous and those who like their theatre shaken, not too neat. Go see it.


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