Baycourt - Addison Theatre, Tauranga

19/10/2017 - 20/10/2017

Carterton Events Centre, Wairarapa

15/10/2017 - 15/10/2017

Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent, Havelock North Village Green, Havelock North

07/10/2017 - 08/10/2017

Theatre Royal, 78 Rutherford Street, Nelson

21/10/2017 - 22/10/2017

Tauranga Arts Festival 2017



Kokomai 2017

Production Details

Inspired by Chaplin, Keaton, and the stars of silent films, Compagnia Baccalà’s timeless performance has been delighting audiences around the world since 2010. Pss Pss blends contemporary clown with theatre and circus in a performance of enthralling physicality and exquisite humour.

Compagnia Baccalà was born from the Swiss-Italian union of Simone Fassari and Camilla Pessi, who met at the famous Dimitri Theatre School. They later ran away from the circus they were in, created Pss Pss and the rest is history.

Pss Pss has been performed over 600 times in more than 50 countries and on all five continents to huge acclaim, winning 13 international prizes along the way.

An hour of happiness not to be missed!

An hour of happiness not to be missed!

Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent
Sat Oct 7th: 7.00pm
Sun Oct 8th: 3.00pm
Premier:$59 | Adult:$49 | Concession:$42
Family of Four (Each):$37.5 | Child – 16 and under:$35 

Carterton Events Centre
Sun 15 Oct, 6pm
Adult $42 / Adult Friend $39 /
Family $109 / Child $25

Tauranga Arts Festival 2017
Baycourt, Addison Theatre
Thursday 19th October, 06:00pm
Friday 20th October, 01:00pm
Friday 20th October, 06:00pm
Adult $46, Student $25, Children $16
(TECT $37, $20, $13)

Nelson Arts Festival 2017
Sat 21 & Sun 22 Oct, 7pm
65 mins, no interval
FULL $41 | UNDER 19 $19
SENIOR $37 | FAMILY (4 people, max. 2 adults) $100
(Family booking only available through Theatre Royal Nelson) 
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Theatre , Clown , Circus ,

1 hr 5 mins

Sophisticated, delightful and awe-inspiring

Review by Ruth Allison 21st Oct 2017

What do an apple, a banana, a ladder, a trapeze and two clowns have in common?  Oh, and don’t forget to throw in a willing member of the audience. The answer is an hour of the most joyous, funny, physical theatre Nelson has ever seen. The duo of Simone Fassari and Camilla Pessi woo children and adults alike with their love story told through the universal language of mime, acrobatics and burlesque. 

Their repertoire is classic. Haunting strains of circus vaudeville deliver the two characters to the stage and from the start this duo unravel their special bond with rapid fire delivery. The routines tumble: the sharing of an apple is more than a nod to Adam and Eve and the vagaries of relationships; a balancing act draws gasps from the crowd; a diabolo goes horribly wrong on purpose but a piano accordion and a trumpet duet bring the two back together. 

Artfulness, subterfuge, trickery and oodles of charm. These two performers have the wow factor. For him, it is a mixture of Charlie Chaplin meets Mr Bean and for her, the bewitching rag doll, simultaneously delicate and robust. Together they create an engaging amorous affair in which love wins out.

The high point, so to speak, is the trapeze. It hangs enticingly above the stage, the audience desperate for it to be put to use. But we have to wait. With impeccable timing and hilarious shenanigans, a banana is eaten and never shared and a ladder is brought down through an unwitting audience to take a central role as both a musical instrument and a circus prop.

When they finally make it to the trapeze, both struggling to take a lead role, the two clowns are at their best, working in complete harmony to make it look far too easy. It is a tribute to their professional skill and years of training.  

A spontaneous standing ovation declares this without doubt the most sophisticated, delightful and awe-inspiring performance to come out of the arts festival. Bravo. 


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Tender and inviting

Review by Emily Mowbray-Marks 20th Oct 2017

Nanas grab those grandkids, book your seats down close to the front and get ready to giggle, clap, gasp and want more of these two performers: Simone Fassari and Camilla Pessi of Pss Pss!

Let not the aroma of Italy nor an exotic language hinting of subtitles or accents distract you though. These skilful delightful actors, comedians, musicians, dancers, acrobats (and yes there’s only two of them) speak not a word on stage, of Italian, or Swiss German, or English or French or whatever their mother tongue is. Their ridiculous and charming show is silent, with just the right amount of recorded and live music, which takes me back to films such as Amelie and Black Cat White Cat, somewhere tangoing amidst Gypsy, French Fair & Carnivalesque Circus.

I love this talk of escape. Any hint of wild adventure and challenging convention gets me going. This is how I find the pair described on the Tauranga Arts’ Festival website: ”They ran away from the circus they were in, created Pss Pss and the rest is history … this breath-taking pair perform mishaps and acrobatics that will have you laughing long after you leave the theatre.”

Husband and I attend Pss Pss on date night. Is delicious hearing ‘my’ introvert laughing quietly next to me, uncontrollably clapping with awe, and feeling him along with the other 400+ people in Baycourt tonight at this 6pm sitting, becoming more comfortable with expressing child-like joy, wonder, and appreciation for the banquet of brilliance of these two International performers. What a perfect way to open our local biennial festival, with a show that encourages play, light-heartedness, and human connection – what a glorious invitation for an audience, for a community.

Performers Simone Fassari and Camilla Pessi, trained at Teatro Dimitri in Switzerland: a theatre school which “brings together an unprecedented approach to different theater and circus traditions: from the Commedia dell’Arte to the comedic numbers of the clown, from pantomime to modern dance.”

Pss Pss smells of the silent comics of the past: Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Jacques Tati. The duo-ness and opposition of Fassari and Pessi reads like Laurel and Hardy.One character (she) more gutsy; the other (he) more timid. I feel a little heroic the gender stereotypes are challenged.

There are Frank Spencer moments too. All the naive, gentle, humane, (adorable in fact) comedy and shadows of great comedians are here, on this Baycourt stage. The tramp-like dusty, faded, and trying-to-be-respectable but looking tired costumes. A take on the bowler hat. Pale faces with accentuated expressive eyes, lips and brows. The full-of-character walk or in this instance the double-fist-pump wiggle. 

This show is clown & circus with some surprise instrument playing, dance and fine fine acting to boot. For every member in the audience the show’s highlight is different.

For me?
When Pessi articulates her left pinky finger, animating it like a very hungry caterpillar, until the fidgeting festers into her face and eyebrows all in a rouse to try and win the battle of distraction with Fassari for the live banana. 

Perhaps the moment when the same Pessi ‘isolates’ her head from her shoulders, like something from Dannii Minogue’s ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’.

When Fassari jams his body in the upside down ladder which doubles as a ‘wind’ instrument able to blow ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’, and wobbles, in some sort of ballet curtsey, once, twice, that comic three times in order to squeeze every little bit of necessary laughter from us this mid-working-weeknight.

Yes, this show reminds me of the wellness in laughter. I can feel the people around me softening. Slowing. Able to be present. Experiencing joy. I think of the medicinal qualities of the Laughter Yoga classes which happen around the world now, thanks to that Dr Madan Kataria.

So much of what I see on this stage tonight speaks of a return to innocence. This actress before me is dressed in soft red ankle boots, a Kermit the Frog green cotton lycra body suit underneath white bloomers, with red satin shorts on top and another layer, a pinafore, atop of that. Two untamed teased pigtails ‘explode’ out of the side of an over-used bowler hat. Two big Helene Bonham-Carter-like eyes. Heavily blackened. Big brows. Wide open smile, lips that express so much.

This child-like love of the everything. Too many / so many layers. Too many clothes I like to decide between today – so I wear it all, at once, in this moment, because there is no other. An inspiration to be. Can we too seek, the curiosity, the play, the game, the wonder, the moment?

Apart from showcasing wonder like something from the art of mindfulness, Pss Pss displays a collection of acts linked with a cohesive narrative.

Instead of juggling a ball, they juggle an apple – the apple is part of the story: everything fits. When there’s a trapeze the fact it has fallen from the flies is acknowledged. There’s an authenticity and seamlessness in this simple and honest show.

And these performers do it all. They open with silent comedy. They move into juggling. They show us acrobatics. They caricature ballet impeccably. And then they play music, live: well, a rivalling conversation between piano-accordion and trumpet.

It’s here I get distracted. With life. This show is full of distraction and coming back to presence. Can I fool you into giving me your banana? Can I upstage you accidentally with getting distracted with my addictive parody of contemporary dance in miniature? The accordion distracts me.

(And I think of you Jane Donald: you playing accordion in one tale, on one day; bless your mischief, Spanish, sultry, direct, smiling soul. Perhaps I can think of your hug.)

They hug. Fassari and Pessi. I love that is gets longer and longer as the show does.

Until it is an uncomfortably long comfortable hug. The health benefits of a 6 second+ hug! And the breathing as one, in that embrace.

These two clowns/acrobats share in their bodies and overt facial expression their complete experience, complete emotion, often with complete discomfort as we in our darkened seats become more and more comfortable with receiving ‘them’ as the 65 minutes come to a close.

The therapy of the theatre. Whatever the reason you love taking yourself and/or another loved one out to the theatre, go to this most tender and inviting of shows. You’ll be entertained. You’ll be surprised. You’ll be invited to laugh. Go and get filled up with the wonder of the arts at its greatest. 


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Gently funny, always entertaining and sometimes amazing

Review by Jenny Wake 08th Oct 2017

Going to the Spiegeltent is a treat. I love its turn-of-last-century décor, and it’s such an intimate venue that it resounds with the buzz of a small crowd almost as soon as the doors open. Tonight’s audience hums with anticipation, despite the fact that there’s nothing on the stage to suggest we’re about to see a show – in fact, it’s completely bare.

Two people amble onstage with a snack box and… uh oh, they’re surprised to see an audience waiting for them. But they’re good sports and quickly set about trying to entertain us. “Pss!” they whisper to each other, and gesture ideas for tricks they might try, apparently making the show up as they go.

There’s nothing new in this construct, and I’ve seen many of their tricks before, but Camilla Pessi and Simone Fassari are such engaging performers that I’m delighted all over again.

They try juggling with an apple – yes, just one apple – and they make it seem amazing. They tie themselves up in knots attempting some acrobatic moves, and play out a series of Charlie Chaplin-esque near misses.

This is lovely, playful clown work. Fassari is a master of comic timing. Pessi’s face is wonderfully expressive and the amount of wiggle she can put into a single finger is nothing short of miraculous. They’re talented musicians too, playing trumpet, accordion and… er… ladder.

There’s a quirky, old world charm to this show and, in that sense, the venue is a perfect match. However, the Spiegeltent’s low stage makes for poor sightlines for a show of this kind. Not wanting to miss a moment, I’m constantly on the move, leaning to one side or the other to see around the man in front of me, or sitting bolt upright to peer over his head when he slumps a little in his seat. My refusal to sit still must be maddening for whomever is behind, trying to see around me. A mother in my row takes her boys to stand at the back.

It’s a relief when our intrepid clowns finally make it up to a trapeze: unobstructed views all round.

It’s clear that Pessi and Fassari are highly skilled acrobats and both as strong as oxen, but they’re also so good at appearing to be inept that it is absolutely terrifying watching them fumble, slip and knock each other out of the way, up on the trapeze above us.

Performed by two very talented physical theatre artists, Pss Pss is gently funny, always entertaining and sometimes amazing – highly recommended for young, old and in-betweens.


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