Pirates vs Ninjas

TAPAC Theatre, Western Springs, Auckland

17/11/2010 - 20/11/2010

Production Details

Which one would you choose?

And what happens when you throw in a Gypsy, a Viking, a Guerrilla Terrorist, a Cowboy, an Aeronaut and Sasquatsch?


“Pirates vs Ninjas is a blast. A complete and total blast." Uther Dean, Salient
Anya Tate-Manning – a name to watch” Elspeth Sandys , NZ Listener

The emergency meeting of the Clans of Freedom has begun. Tempers will flair and blood will be spilt. The Pirate will have his bride, the Gypsy will have her revenge and the Ninja will face her destiny. Humanities forces of freedom and anarchy are at war, and the Clans must unite together to defeat their foe. But will they be able to bury their old grievances and unite as allies?

A raucous new comedy by Anya Tate-Manning about love and betrayal, loyalty and brotherhood, revenge and Sasquatsch. Be prepared, vengeance will rain.

Pirates vs Ninjas premiered this year in February at Bats Theatre in Wellington [here for reviews] and is being staged in Auckland under the umbrella of Tapac’s Stepping Stone program, with support from Playmarket.

Anya Tate-Manning, the show’s creator, began this work in her solo project at Toi Whakaari; NZ Drama School. Anya has worked as an actor at Bats, Fortune, Downstage, Circa Theatre and Capitol E; National Theatre for Children, and also for the Ryhmateatteri in Helsinki, Finland, where she began to conceive this new work. Influenced by Japanese animation and Greek Tragedy, Pirates vs Ninjas delivers an action packed, fast paced hour of high passions and politics.

"Riotously funny, ballasted by a serious idea, this play stays in the mind long after the applause has ended."Elspeth Sandys, NZ Listener

"a wild ride well worth taking" Lynn Freeman, Capital Times

"a thoroughly engaging and entertaining show." Ewen Coleman, Dominion Post

"a savage satire…….Pirates Vs Ninjas distils the essence of human conflict in a potent shot-glass scooped from a blood-bath." John Smythe, Theatreview

Pirates vs Ninjas plays at Tapac Auckland Performing Arts Centre
Nov 17th 18th 7pm, 19th– 20th 8pm (School shows 18th and 19th@ 12pm)
All Tickets $15

Sarita So –
Seared Lilly, Sole Survivor of the Black Tulip Ninja Clan
Sarita is a Cambodian Ninja.
Veronica Brady – Esmerelda, Queen of the Gypsies
Veronica is really strong. She would totally win a fight.
Sam Bunkall – Trevor the Bastard
Sam is a bastard. A real bastard.
Dominic Da Souza Correa– Olaf the Harvester, Leader of the Vikings of the Far North
Dominic claims he trained in Paris. We don’t believe him.
Barnaby Fredric – Captain Pain, King of the Pirates
Barnaby has never drunk coke. Not once in his life. Not even a coke flavoured beverage.
Maria Rose MacDonald – Vittoria Piwaiwaka, Representative Comrade of the Ngaati Whaati Tribe
Maria is a Maori. A real one.
Simon Ward – Don Pedro, Cliff the Cowboy, Sasquatsch
Simon is really hairy. And sometimes he sells insurance

Rachel More
– Co-Director
Rachel is getting married next year, hazzah!
Allan Henry – Co-Director and Fight Choreographer
Allan just came back from Transylvania, on Sunday. That’s how he rolls.
Jon Coddington – Original Design
Jon is currently sporting an incredible moustache
Sam Bunkall – Lighting Design
Sam is a real nice guy.
Micheal Craven – Operator
Micheal has one of the best last names ever. And is a very very patient man
Anya Tate-Manning – Writer
Anya wants to be a gypsy. A real one.
Arthur Meek – Dramturg
Arthur has a real flash office on K Rd. You should check it out
Kristin Burns – Publicity
Makes a really great salad. Delicious.

A momentous chapter in an epic spanning generations

Review by Nik Smythe 18th Nov 2010

The set designed by Jon Coddington, a long meeting table beset mainly with drinking vessels, instantly brings Da Vinci’s Last Supper to mind. While the ensuing events don’t mimic the biblical scene as such, there is an irrefutable series of finalities to the interwoven tales of nine honourable warriors from across the mythical world. Is this a futuristic post-Armageddon cautionary tale, or an excavated tale of great social conflict hitherto lost in the mists of time? 

That’s a rhetorical mystery of course; the point – if there is any – is that tangled back-stories and secret agendas are brought together in a complex myriad for this emergency summit conference of the war-torn planet’s surviving clan leaders (evoked by the large web-shaped rope configuration that looms chandelier-like over the central table). 

The extent of the convolutions that comprise this momentous chapter in an epic that spans generations will certainly be a challenge for whoever writes up the play’s synopsis on Wikipedia. 

Leading the archetypal charge is Barnaby Fredric as scurrilous Captain Pain, king of the pirates, addressing his long-fought enemies in a blatantly megalomaniacal pledge to join the fractured remains of their armies together against their common foe, evil and malevolent hordes said to be possessed by some sort of dark force.

Captain Pain’s ruthless agendas include marriage to the lifelong and completely unrequited love of his life, the fair and feisty Gypsy Queen Esmerelda played feistily by the fair Veronica Brady. But she has bitter enemies present, and other suitors, yet longs for another herself. Meanwhile the Pirate King’s plan is threatened by the unsolicited nomination of the doe-eyed ninja Seared Lilly, (Sarita So) recent sole survivor of her own clan and bearing the forbidden child of her own forbidden lover, now dead, in her womb.  

The remaining exemplars – Olaf the primitive Viking leader (Dominic Da Souza Correa), Vittoria the staunch Maori warrior princess (Maria Rose MacDonald) and sleazy Scot, neither leader nor king of anywhere Trevor the Bastard (Sam Bunkall) – only complicate the saga exponentially. That’s before Simon Ward arrives as the fearfully anticipated guest, whose attendance at this historic meeting changes everything…   

A little fantasising of my own: It’s quite possible there’s enough in this story to be fleshed out to two hours and given a mighty budget and someone like Michael Mizrahi to direct it, assuming there’d be a market for this sort of thing in theatre. It’d be awesome just to have realistic entrails and more elaborate and convincing stunt-fighting if nothing else. 

As is it’s an entertaining adventure and a good laugh. While some of the key showdowns are unfortunately lacking at a visceral level, Rachel More and Allan Henry’s direction succeeds in maintaining a good level of clarity to the complex narrative of Anya Tate-Manning’s ambitious script – originally written as a solo piece (!) which given the scope of the thing is difficult to imagine.

Trainspotter’s pedantic note: In the programme playwright Tate-Manning credits influence to, but misspells the surname of, seminal British graphic novelist Neil Gaiman
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


Simon Taylor November 18th, 2010

there is an irrefutable series of finalities


I am not a pedantic trainspotter but has Nik's writing actually got worse?

Simon Taylor November 18th, 2010

beset with bad unglish

Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council