Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

26/02/2024 - 28/02/2024

NZ Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

Written and performed by Em Barrett
Creative Mentorship by Thomas LaHood

Warped Productions

Dancing between Humankind and Flydom; a hilarious and strangely uplifting new solo show. What do you get when you cross a fly with jazz, toilets, and humanity’s simmering despair at its own social constructs? You get PURE GRIME.

Pungently fresh. A mind bending solo comedy from the perspective of a fly, written by award winning comedian and performer Em Barrett. PURE GRIME is a punchy and thought provoking solo show that challenges audiences to celebrate the grotesque and see the world through the eyes of a fly. Crash landing at Gryphon Theatre on the 26th-28th February for the 34th year of Aotearoa’s beloved NZ Fringe Festival, Em’s captivating bouffon performance is sure to perplex and amaze.

“I love loved loved the entire energy of The Fly.” -Audience feedback, RUCKUS showing 2022.

Immersive, reactive and just plain strange. A disgustingly delightful jab at human kind and celebration of all things ‘fly.’ This gripping comedy seeks to explore what it means to be human; and thus what it means to be fly. Two years in the making, this unique comedy found its wings among a residency at Barbarian Productions (founded by multi award winning artist Jo Randerson), as well as later receiving mentorship from esteemed clown Thomas LaHood. PURE GRIME transcends the theatrical into the real world, tiptoeing the line between human and fly. Confronting, horrifying, yet wonderfully witty. Come in for a laugh and leave with a sting. A sting to the psyche; in the best way possible.

“Awesome [and] surprisingly dark.” -Audience feedback, RUCKUS showing 2022.

An exploration of empathy, acceptance, and the human condition. A timeless performance that is sure to leave you buzzing.

Monday 26th- Wednesday 28th February
Gryphon Theatre
Tickets: $12-20
Book through fringe.co.nz/show/pure-grime.

Writer/ Performer:
Em Barrett is an award winning queer performer, writer and comedian based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. She is passionate about informing work with obscurity; creating characters and narratives from unusual places to reflect society today. She does this through clown and character comedy with loved characters such as “Johann,” who has featured in comedy clubs around New Zealand and was a part of her award winning show Community (Winner of the NZ Fringe Tour Ready Award 2022). Em has also been nominated for Best Solo Performance and Most Talented Emerging Artist in the 2022 New Zealand Fringe Festival. She hopes that PURE GRIME will encourage audiences to think about their own relationship to the natural world, as well as their relationship to themselves.

Creative Mentor and Dramaturg:
Thomas LaHood is a graduate of the Bonts International Clown School (Ibiza) Autumn Academy 2006. He is an experienced performer and clown with a history of physical performance including the touring children’s shows Tale of a Dog (Capital E, 2008-9), and Caterpillars (2015-16), as well as frequent commercial acting roles.

He has worked as a Clown Doctor at Wellington Public Hospital and has taught clown at Whitireia, Toi Whakaari Summer School and independently. He has been a director of Wellington independent theatre company Barbarian Productions since 2006 and performs many roles within the company, including marketing design and publicity, dramaturgy and general company administration.

Thomas has informed and witnessed PURE GRIME from its very beginnings in 2022, and is excited to be onboard as Em’s mentor and dramaturg for its debut season.

Cast- Em Barrett
Technician- Tom Smith

Clown , Comedy , Theatre , Solo ,

60 minutes

Captivating clowning joyously captures what’s grotesque and gross in humans

Review by Gin Mabey 27th Feb 2024

I went into this show with a lot on my mind. As soon as it started, I thought “screw all that s**t!”. I couldn’t fret while I was watching such an incredibly skilled performer in Em Barrett. For an hour I smiled, laughed, leaned forward in my seat and felt pure joy that this kind of theatre exists, and these kinds of performers bravely and boldly gift it to us.

What a feat. For one performer to hold the audience in their hand for an hour without a single lag in energy or the dreaded bored shuffle.

We meet a fly, in Bouffon Clown style, mincing out of the wings to jazz; the music is a fabulous addition to the show throughout. The fly is anatomically detailed, cheeky and interacts with the audience in a fun yet gentle, beginner-friendly way. I won’t give too much away about what ‘happens’ during the show, but the fly attempts to humanise itself in the most cuttingly accurate fashion.

When words are used, they’re sparse but perfectly crafted and delivered. They punctuate the movement and the often ungodly sounds that come from the fly. There is repetition, mimicking, ingesting, regurgitation, birth and many other bodily processes. 

Em Barrett, under the dramaturgical and creative mentorship of expert clown Thomas LaHood (Barbarian Productions), demonstrates just how joyous and captivating clowning can be. How often do we see people (adults) use their bodies and faces and voices like that? We don’t. Yet it’s so familiar, oddly. We might move like this as children and maybe in our minds when we are secretly mocking anyone who pisses us off.

I really love how this show tickles our intellect at the same time as tickling our base human funny bones. It is grotesque and gross, but isn’t that what we are as humans? As much as we try not to be, we are. And we must know that and laugh at that. No spoilers, but you’re likely to feel very, ugh, seen by ‘Bob’ (the name the fly gives themselves when they pretend to be a human). I know I am. 

Go and see this show and bring others with you. Even if the genre doesn’t appeal to you, just go to watch the craft and talent of Em Barrett. I promise you’ll laugh. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council
Waiematā Local Board logo