BATS Theatre, Wellington

18/02/2016 - 21/02/2016

Roberts Street, 8 Roberts Street, Dunedin

10/03/2016 - 12/03/2016

NZ Fringe Festival 2016 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Dunedin Fringe 2016

Production Details

A new suspense written for the theatre by Daniel Fraser.  

The phone rings…. but what’s on the other end?  

Claire’s peaceful life is unexpectedly interrupted when she starts receiving mysterious phone calls. As the caller’s torment intensifies, Claire soon realises she can’t trust anyone and that her only lifeline has become the source of her terror. Claire must learn to question everything she believes in if she hopes to destroy the insidious entity attempting to consume her.

Your head snaps as you hear a knock at the door. Hairs on your arms raise as you try to catch the movement at the corner of your eye. You’re on the edge of your seat. Something is out there. And it wants to chat.

Written by recent Victoria University graduate, Dan Fraser, and presented by Hank of Thread, (Kaitiaki, The Reviewers) RECEIVER, debuting in the 2016 New Zealand Fringe Festival and opening at BATS Theatre 18 February 2016, is a surreal, suspenseful thriller that explores the dichotomy of objective and subjective reality.

Hank of Thread has received critical and popular acclaim for their previous work, including winning 2015’s Two Day Plays competition at BATS Theatre, The Reviewers in 2014 (“A must-see for young or old mixed race city or rural dwellers or art lovers everywhere”. – Jo Randerson, and Kaitiaki in 2013 (“…a kind of innocent surrealism – a zany ‘why-not?’ whimsy that reminds me of the Mighty Boosh.” – Hannah Smith, Theatreview).


18th – 21st February 2016, 6pm.
$16 / $13 / Fringe Addict Cardholders $12
Bookings: 04 802 4175 |  

Roberts Street, 8 Roberts Street, Dunedin
Thu 10 Mar – Sat 12 Mar 2016, 8:00pm
$10.00 – $12.00
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Theatre ,

The whole paranoid mind-bending spiral is a delight

Review by Lena Fransham 19th Feb 2016

Daniel Fraser’s Receiver, directed by Jimmy Sutcliffe, opens with Claire Fisher (Lorraine Chambers) in her flowery living room, with a very stylish old red telephone on the side table. She’s listening to an opera (the Jewel Song from Charles Gounod’s Faust), as she puts on her gardening gloves.  That’s when she gets the first phone call. The music starts to lose its melody, breaking up into discordant noise.

There’s an interesting feeling of disengagement about Chambers’ portrayal of Claire. You get that Claire is lonely, misses her late husband, misses her son Ben (Richard Falkner) and hopes he will call or visit. She’s proud of her dahlias. She’s getting weird calls from Drew (Michael Hebenton) at ‘Mutual Assisted’. Something is amiss. Communication is no longer working for her. Instead of a line to the outside world, her phone seems to be a conduit for something predatory.

Dialogue is sparse and therefore each line seems crucial. Disorientation builds in her conversations with Ben and her daughter Jess (Franscesca Emms). Are there gaps in Claire’s memory, or is it time that is glitching, like the disintegrating rhythms of the opening aria? What’s going on between Drew (Michael Hebenton) and his boss Cam (Michael Trigg)?

Sound (sound design Daniel Fraser) is an essential partner to the action, interacting with dialogue in a grinding crescendo of unease and some really chilling moments. Given the subtle ambiguities of the plot, and dialogue that hints and insinuates in just the right measures to let our imaginations do the work, I think there are places where the prominence of the sound design could be wound back to better effect. The complete musical breakdown at the beginning, for instance, undermines the tension at an early point – it’s like a sonic spoiler. The aria’s shrillness in the chintzy domestic scene is already creepy enough to foreshadow what is to come.

Receiver treads a territory that is not completely new, but while touching on the odd genre cliché, the play maintains its own voice. The atmosphere is altogether transporting – as affirmed by occasional collective gasps from the audience – with brilliantly innovative set design and use of space and chorus (production design Sherilee Kahui and Jimmy Sutcliffe; chorus Sherilee Kahui, Rachel Massey, Sadie Preval and Brodie Taurima).

The climax is wonderful although it dissipates a little with being too long. I’m not alone in being delighted with the whole paranoid mind-bending spiral of the journey to that point.


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