Only Bones V1.10

Te Auaha, Tapere Iti, 65 Dixon St, Wellington

07/03/2023 - 11/02/2023

NZ Fringe Festival 2023

Production Details


Creator & Performer: Daniel Nodder
Creator & Outside Eye: Thomas Monckton
Composer & Sound Designer: Ben Kelly
Lighting Design: Rebekah de Roo
Producer: Fay Van Der Meulen

Daniel Nodder


A solo performer wordlessly explores a microscopic universe, stepping from world to world in this galaxy-spanning piece of physical theatre.

A dancer and theatre practitioner based in Pōneke, Daniel Nodder is a twice-nominated Most Promising Emerging Artist, for previous solo shows Stepping Up (2020) and Smilestuff (2022). As in his other solo work, Daniel brings an attitude of play and a clown-like mindset to a work suffused with exceptionally challenging feats of dance and physical theatre.

This multidisciplinary work continues a long line of Only Bones creators including Thom Monckton, Jenni Kallo and Danny Lee Syme. Each was challenged to ‘create a solo show under one light with no set, no props, no text, no narrative, and within 1m2′. These restrictions are designed to produce a low-tech reliant show which places focus on the use of a performer’s body.

7 – 11 March, 8pm & 5pm, Te Auaha
Tickets from https://www.fringe.co.nz/show/only-bones-v1-10
General Admission $18, Concession $15, Fringe Addict $14.50


Publicist: Tyler Clarke
Operator: Tadhg Mackay
Photographer: Aimee Sullivan


Clown , Dance-theatre , Physical , Theatre ,


50 minutes

Playfulness that variously fascinates, astounds, intrigues and provokes empathy

Review by John Smythe 08th Mar 2023

I first saw Thom Monkton explore Only Bones at The Bandoliers Hall in NZ Fringe 2015. He revived it in 2019 at Te Auaha’s Tapere Iti en route to Kerikeri then Edinburgh. Its long line of creators includes Jenni Kallo and Danny Lee Syme.

Daniel Nodder’s version, co-created with Monkton who is credited as ‘Outside Eye’, is the 10th iteration in repertoire around the world. Each creator is challenged to “create a solo show under one light with no set, no props, no text, no narrative, and within 1m2. These restrictions are designed to produce a low-tech reliant show which places focus on the use of a performer’s body.”

If you ever need proof that ‘less is more’, this is it. Who knew hands clasping a bulbous LED light could be so mesmerising; that glimpses of white light between red fingers could be so interesting? The many creative ways Nodder plays with the light includes an astonishing shadow play between two heads – I swear there are two – within the tent of his t-shirt.  

But it’s Nodder’s capacity for isolating his body parts and giving them minds or personalities of their own that amazes us most. All over Wellington there will be audience members, post-show, trying to animate their kneecaps. It’s impossible – isn’t it? Yet he makes it look so simple, using muscle groups few of us are able to command. To the strains of ‘Shallow’ from A Star is Born (2018) his kneecaps sing, converse and express their love for each other. Magic.  

Ben Kelly’s composition and sound design, and Rebekah de Roo’s lighting design, operated with sensitivity and precision by Tadgh Mackay, enfold and sometimes seem to motivate the performance. Sound, light and the performer dance together.

As per the premise (above), there is no evolving story, just playfulness with light, sound, body and clothing in ways that variously fascinate, astound, intrigue and provoke empathy for an unexplained yet relatable state of being.

Some moments feel epic – I feel sure we witness Armageddon at one point – while others are microscopic. Sometimes we’re responding privately, at others we’re sharing a collective response. Mostly Only Bones V1.10 will be a personal experience for each individual who engages with it.

It’s on till Saturday and highly recommended.

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