Meet at Hamilton Gardens Info Centre, Hamilton

21/02/2019 - 23/02/2019

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2019

Production Details

A Sasquatch is said to be at large in the Hamilton Gardens!

Sasquatches are real, and there’s one in Hamilton Gardens… are you ready for a Sasquatch hunt?

These famously large-footed, nocturnal beasts are rarely seen on our shores.

This is probably your best chance to find one – ably guided by an international sasquatch expert and an able tracker.

Bring your walking shoes and a sense of adventure.

Security will be onsite in case of any potential sasquatch attack.

“…Sasquatch is a thrilling improvised adventure in the woods; a game of imagination where spotlight meets bear hunt. I felt like I was ten years old again – magic…” – Audience member, Lōemis Festival, Wellington

Meet at Hamilton Gardens Information Centre
Thursday 21 – Saturday 23 Feb 2019
8.30pm & 10pm 
$30 General Admission
$27 Concession
*Booking fees apply

Theatre , Promenade , Outdoor ,

Anticipation, tension, trepidation – then disappointment

Review by Sarah Nathan 22nd Feb 2019

There could not be a more suitable and idyllic setting for an immersive, site specific theatre work than the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.  Indeed, shows that have not grasped the opportunity to respond to the this sublime setting are missing out on a unique opportunity to create deeply memorable experiences for audiences and for themselves as theatre makers.

This balmy February evening is therefore just perfect for a bit of Sasquatch hunting as we gather outside the gardens information centre.  I suspiciously eye up a tall European gentleman donning a dashing safari suit and brandishing a foam baton.  Turns out he ias not our intended leader, but a highly enthused audience member, who at times becomes as entertaining as the cast themselves. And right there, we have the beauty of interactive improvisation. 

Each time it will be a completely different experience due to the infinitely varying nature of audience make up.  I chuckle internally as the elderly lady behind me says to her companion, “To be quite honest, I’ve never done anything like this before.” Given we are about to launch a search for a Sasquatch in urban Hamilton, I am in right there with her.

After a short wait, we are approached by rugged Sasquatch hunter ‘Guppie’, who is the epitome of an earnest environmental warrior and protector of species threatened by the hand of human global domination.  He bemoans his lack of research funding and thus inability to source bonafide scientific staff to accompany him on this mission; so if we’d be “kind enough to tell any one who asks that we are a collective of expert Sasquatch scientists, well, that would be greatly appreciated.” 

And so begins a journey deep into the outer and oft-unexplored regions of Hamilton Gardens, armed with flashlights and head torches.  As the sun sets, we are informed that dusk and dawn are optimum times for Sasquatch hunting and thus the scene is set for what becomes an expertly led journey in finely built tension and anticipation.  

We are soon joined by expert American scientist ‘Cliff’, who is our lead hunter and provides a easy flow of expert banter as he discusses Sasquatch habitats and behaviours and requests we be on the look out for tell tale signs of Sasquatch activity.

The duo work well to build anticipation in the group to the point where I find myself fighting hard to stay in the middle of our pack to protect myself from the possibility of Sasquatch attack out from the darkness.  As I look around to check I am flanked at all sides, the woman behind me asks me to stay in front of her as she has been hiding in my shadow all along. As one audience member says to me, though, we don’t have to run faster than the Sasquatch, we just have to run faster than the slowest scientist.

As we journey forward, our leaders utilise the environment to stop, observe and explore, then push the tension and trepidation up a notch at well-timed intervals. As a semi improvised work, there are plenty of opportunities for the performers to take fresh offers from the environment and participants to built on the delight of a live event.  An example is that as we walk past a cluster of beautiful glow worms, a participant interprets them as ‘eye shine’.  The moment is more or less brushed off, and I find myself wishing they had taken the time to explore some of these fun ideas rather than charging on relentless with the scripted plan.

The key to effective comedy is to build tension and know when to release it with impact. This is where the work could definitely do with more development. Without being a total spoiler, I’ll just say that the ending leaves me and others somewhat confused and wanting more (but not in a good way). We are not entirely sure if the show is indeed over and stand in the carpark for a few minutes scratching our heads. A few of the teenagers in the audience are particularly dissatisfied. This is disappointing given the very high quality experience up to the last 10% or so. 

Maybe it is just a dud night. Or maybe, given the chance to address this key point, the work will go on to have lots of long hairy legs in the future.  


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council