Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland

30/06/2013 - 30/06/2013

Production Details

What’s more choice than Short+Sweet?

Short+Sweet in association with Development Programmes at THE EDGE presents Short+Sweet – Dance, Song and Theatre 2013. 

28 May – 30 June, at the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE.

Short+Sweet is back and it’s taking over Auckland ten minutes at a time!

Come join us for five weeks of fast and furious, bite sized performances featuring some of Auckland’s best writers, directors, choreographers, dancers and actors.

And to celebrate our fourth year of Short+Sweet we’ve got something new for you. We’re not only bringing back Short+Sweet Dance and Short+Sweet Theatre but we’re premiering our new favourite, Short+Sweet Song – it’s musical theatre time!

Whichever genre you choose, it’s a night at the theatre where you never know what’s going to happen next and you get to vote for your favourite performance at the end of the night.

Short+Sweet – The biggest little festival in the world – produces hundreds of the best ten minute plays, dance works and musical theatre pieces from across the globe each year and hits Auckland for its fourth year in a row this May/June.

Each night Short+Sweet presents ten performances, each no longer than ten minutes. A feast of styles and subjects, the next new work is only ever ten minutes away and there is always something for everyone.

‘It’s exciting; it’s a great night out for the audience and it’s the perfect taster for someone who might never have been to dance or theatre before. It’s only ever 10 minutes to the next piece so if you don’t like that one you don’t have to wait long until the next one starts!’ Says Sums Selvarajan, Festival Producer.

As well as presenting some of the best ten-minute theatre in the world; Short+Sweet has also opened doors and launched careers of many artists across the globe.

‘It’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved, to try something new, showcase their talent and work with people they may have never met before’ says Jonathan Hodge, Artistic Director of Theatre and Song.

Within the three genres of Dance, Theatre and Song the performances are split into groups. Dance and Theatre both have a top 20 split into Week one and two and one wildcard group performing once only on the middle Saturday. Song has one just one week for its premiere season. 

The Top 20 (or 10 for Song), perform from Tuesday – Saturday (ten shows per week) while the Wildcard shows (Dance and Theatre) get one matinee performance on Saturday to strut their stuff and wow the audiences and judges as they decide who makes it through to the Gala Final.

On the final Sunday the best ten of the season (decided by the audience and judges) are performed one last time. The judges choose their best production, playwright, director and actors and the people’s choice award for the whole season is also announced.

‘The audience play a huge part in picking the winner. It’s very exciting for everyone and it’s going to be a fantastic three weeks’ says Jonathan ‘So make sure you are there to cast your vote’.

If you prefer watching the 100 metre sprint to the full marathon, love the drama of Project Runway, the pressure of Master Chef, and the talent of X Factor get down to Short+Sweet.

Funny, moving, absurd, touching and now musical, you can expect the unexpected with Short+Sweet — so are you in, or are you out?

Full Festival programme available here

Ticketing Information 

Tickets $25 adult, $20 concession (concession available for 65+, students and children under 14 years) and $35 Gala Finals from 0800 BUY TICKETS or (service fees apply) 

Group Bookings (more than 6 people) – Call 09 357 3354. 

For media enquiries, please contact Alex Ellis on 0275026542 or

Performance Schedule  

Short+Sweet Dance  

Tuesday 28 May – Sunday 9 June

Dancing up a storm. Emerging and established dance practitioners bring you new works of contemporary, hip hop, dance theatre, belly dancing, multimedia and much more.

Week 1


Tuesday 28 May – Saturday 1 June 2013 (Tues – Wed 7pm, Thurs – Sat 8pm)



Saturday, 1 June (3pm)

Week 2


Tuesday, 4 June – 8 June 2013 (Tues – Wed 7pm, Thurs – Sat 8pm)

Gala Final


Sunday 9 June (3pm & 7pm)


Tuesday 11 – Saturday 15 June and Sunday 30 June 

Everything is better with a Soundtrack. Short+Sweet Song is where singers, musicians and composers present punchy musicals in just ten minutes! Expect the unexpected in a night that mashes up rock, musicals, pop, indie and event opera. 

Week 1

Tuesday 11 June – Saturday 15 June 2013 (Tues – Wed 7pm, Thurs – Sat 8pm)

Gala Final  Sunday 30 June (3pm & 7.30pm)

Short+Sweet Theatre

Tuesday 18 – Sunday 30 June

Theatre for the easily distracted. Short+Sweet Theatre – the fast and furious festival where Auckland’s best writers, directors and actors present 10 minute plays with all the impact of a full length show. Maybe you’ll laugh, maybe you’ll cry; it’s all about to happen, ten minutes at a time.

Week 1
Tuesday 18 June – Saturday 22 June 2013 (Tues – Wed 7pm, Thurs – Sat 8pm)

Saturday, 22 June (3pm)

Week 2
Tuesday 25 June – Saturday 29 June 2013 (Tues – Wed 7pm, Thurs – Sat 8pm)

Gala Final:  Sunday 30 June (3pm & 7.30pm)

Perky, intriguing, pacey, clever, macabre, mythical, tumultuous, lame, cheesy, necessary

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 01st Jul 2013

Love, death, marriage, religion, national identity, personal identity, an actor’s head-space and ninjas, are the motivating forces for writers of this year’s Short + Sweet, Theatre and Song finalists.

The afternoon starts at a cracking pace, with Annie & Joshua,a musical two-hander showcasing delightful, enjoyable performances by Bridget Costello and Callum Blackmore. Director Thomas Sainsbury’s tone is melodramatic and gushy by design, which works well in this brief format.

The performers are in fine voice, and while occasionally Costello is a bit shrill in her higher register, both are very strong in their recitative. Robbie Ellis is a suburb intuitive accompanist, always in synch with the singers. Lyrics start obvious, but just when the story arch looks certain to be sealed with a hug and a kiss, a twist emerges: the ‘Pre-nup’.

Writers Robbie Ellis (words & music) and Thomas Sainsbury (proto-words) master perfect structure and clear plot development. ‘Together Forever’ is a cheeky musical nod by Ellis, to ‘Tomorrow’, from the Broadway hit Annie. Ellis layers nice harmonies onto the final refrain (the only time these two talented singers break into harmony). Sainsbury’s equally cheeky cheesy moment, ripped from the blockbuster Titanic, is hilarious.

A fun, well-written, perky, wordy, light musical gem. Very easy to engage with and enjoy. The play-out music alone, should win a prize.

Next up is The Third Person by Dan Borengasser. While I’m initially very drawn into both the story and the method by which it’s told, for me, this work plateaus at the three-quarter mark. A side-of-stage narrator speaks to us – and a confused lone actor on stage – in the third person.

Mike Lowe is an accomplished narrator, articulating the location, action, mood, sound and special effects. While Lowe is polished and slick, Lauren Porteous, in the centre of her own narrated story, is natural and suitably organic. However, once the narrator becomes an actual character in her story, the momentum of the journey stalls somewhat. What started with promise, humour and intrigue, fizzes out to a flat end. 

Reading Lamouche
is witty, light and very entertaining.

More than any other finalist, each of writer Finnius F. Teppett’s well-formed and recognisable characters, holds my interest from the start. I am left wanting to know more about all of them, as well as what will happen next, in this comedy about a director trying to tame the egos of his cast during the first reading of a pretentious French play.

Greg Bailey as Stefano, a cocky self-absorbed method actor, is spot on in his delivery and execution; as are both Liesha Ward-Knox as the earnest and over-analysing Rose and Britta Brandt, whose character is, by contrast, straight-talking – no ‘BS’. Carl Drake, as the exasperated director trying to appease his demanding three, is marvellous, while Raj Singh as venue technician Tim, thrust into the play reading, brings a perfect ‘fish out of water’ energy to his performance. 

Great premise, great pace, great characters and great direction by Calum Gittins. I hope this promising work is expanded into something longer.

Writer Pete Malicki’s V.D. is brought to life brilliantly, through actress Jess Holly Bates and director Catherine Boniface. This work is a wonderful vehicle to showcase Bates’ versatility and skill.

First, she entertains as anxious fluffy OCD Sophie; facing her sixth Valentine’s Day with anticipated disappointment. Later, she is just as believable as Dan, the handsome princess who throws a twist into the mix.

Clever, topical, well structured, well delivered, real and well done.  While many finalists suffer from a weak end, here, Malicki finds the perfect note to finish on, plus the perfect play-out song. 

Writer Greg Gould, finds the ideal vehicle for his dark black comedy, Last Drinks, in the striking and impressive, Rachael Blampied, although her co-actor, Rohan Glynn, could have made more – both in terms of physical and verbal reaction – out of Rachael’s stunning entrance in full bridal-wear.

Director Matt Baker settles them into a dialogue that flows naturally, despite the utterly macabre nature of Gould’s premise: her boyfriends keep dying dramatically, while his attempts to kill himself, keep failing miserably.

Full credit to writer Robyn Paterson, for taking the forbidden fruit, the creation story or myth (depending on your perspective), and devising a tale of everyday domestic discord, complete with nits, golf and scary toes nails. In The World’s First Fight, director Patricia Vichmann and cast members Carl Drake and Val Carroll, strike up a believable interplay, which is enjoyable and entertaining.

However, because we know how things well end, the inevitable bite lacks a certain… bite.

Staged Madness by the Winter’s Collective and directed by Bruce Brown, is an ambitious premise, given the constraints of time. While talented cast members Matt Norton as a psychiatrist and Kate Vox as a disturbed patient are well matched, the loaded synopsis – an actress suffering from a breakdown who is being evaluated – is hard to jump into, given the time constraints.

While I am captivated by both performances, it does feel like a hard, if not impossible, task to ask the audience to jump holistically into the inner turmoils and conflicts of mind games and manipulations, at such a deep level, when the minutes tick by so fast.

The Antichrist Cometh, by David MacGregor and directed by Rebekah Bourhill, explores what might happen if an ordinary man discovers that he might be the Antichrist. While cast members Scott Hayden and Erica Kroger do well, because the entire premise is articulated in the first minute, and nothing else is on offer from MacGregor, the rest of the play therefore lacks jeopardy or suspense.

Script-wise, augmenting the premise with predicable, lame in-law and advertising jokes, doesn’t help. I feel removed and detached from the performances and premise.  

The Adventures of Kazu and Kengo(a.k.a. This is how Ninjas say hi…!), presented by The Oryza Foundation for Asian Performing Arts and directed by Gerald Urquhart, is as disjointed as the title itself. I’m not sure what is being sung or said half the time, but I do tap my toes and thoroughly enjoy the energy, commitment and bravery of these young ninjas: Kazuhide Shaun Okuda, Kengo Hosaka and Hiroshi Nakatsuji.

The relentless pre-recorded accompaniment is far too loud, often drowning out the vocals. Often the sung melody is note for note, the same as the accompaniment, making for a full frontal assault to the ears (MD & Composer: Jun Bin Lee). On saying that, the catchy refrain, “ni-ni-ni-ni-ni-nija”, could well be redeveloped into a cult classic, with the right direction and guidance.

In its current form, it’s silly cheesy slapstick. But in a good way. There is a frog, a princess, a journey to the RSA, and a misunderstood ruler with his finger dangerously close to a big red button that could destroy the world (overtones of Korean totalitarianism). The ruler then bursts into tears and needs a hug. Great to see that peace and love are the winners at the end of this ten-minute ninja epic. A pity, then, that one of the overly excited energised ninjas accidently treads on the big red button. Oh well, at least they end with a bang.

How fabulous to hear Blam Blam Blam’s timeless classic, ‘There Is No Depression In New Zealand’, to round off the night, as the lead in song for the final playette. The last finalist is Lucky C*ntrywritten by Jess Holly Bates and devised by Romy Hooper and Jess Holly Bates, for Dead Leg Theatre Company.

As the cast of two, Romy Hooper and Jess Holly Bates, give the audience a tsunami of issues for every parent and grandparent in the audience to think about – What do we tell our kids, our tamariki, about today’s New Zealand? What is right and what is wrong? What the hell is going on? – using several easy to recognise Kiwi characters, including a PC mother from Grey Lynn, a pig-hunter and a Maori man in touch with all aspects of his Maoritanga.

Perhaps Hooper and Bates needed an outside eye to give the work a more cohesive structure. It feels more like performance poetry in its current form. While it articulates issues of national identity very well, there is no suggested way forward, no possible solution, no hope offered. So what DO we tell our kids?  Sunscreen and slipslop slap is about the only black and white certainty in this potent mix. Exhausting. Yet in so many ways, necessary. Very necessary theatre.   

Short+Sweet Theatre Awards 2013

  • Judges’ Choice Award – V.D
  • People’s Choice Award – V.D.
  • Best Director Award – Catherine Boniface
  • Wallace Arts Trust Emerging Artist Award (Theatre) – Matt Baker-Matt Baker & Calum Gittins
  • Best Actor Award – Callum Blackmore
  • Best Actor Runner Up – Carl Drake
  • Best Actress Award – Jess Holly Bates
  • Best Actress Runners Up – Rachel Blampied & Romy Hooper
  • Playmarket Best New Zealand Script Award – Lucky C*nt-ry (Written by Jess Holly Bates & Romy Hooper)
  • Stage Manager’s Prize – Annie & Joshua
  • Best Wildcard – The Third Person
  • Best Independent Company (ITC) Award – Staged Madness
  • Best Comedy Script – V.D by Pete Malicki
  • Best Drama Script – Lucky C*nt-ry by Jess Holly Bates & Romy Hooper
  • Jimmy Shoe Award (for best shoes in a performance) – Lauren Proteous
  • Overachiever Award – Matt Baker-Matt Baker
  • Not-By-Choice Cameo Award – Max Thompson

Short+Sweet Song Awards 2013

  • Best Overall Prize – The Adventure’s of Kazu & Kengo
  • Judges’ Choice Award – Annie & Joshua
  • People’s Choice Award – The Adventure’s of Kazu & Kengo
  • Wallace Arts Trust Emerging Artist Award (Song) – Callum Blackmore 


Robbie Ellis July 4th, 2013

Good call... now I'm better informed about the English language. I appreciate it.

Nic Farra July 4th, 2013

Do look 'fulsome' up.

Robbie Ellis July 1st, 2013

Thanks for the fulsome review! For the record, the coincidence of the 'Together, forever' motif with 'Tomorrow, tomorrow' from Annie is completely unintentional on my part - my subconscious is obviously cleverer than I am. Nobody's remarked on the deliberate Will Smith quote though...

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