Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

11/02/2014 - 15/02/2014

BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

08/04/2014 - 12/04/2014

NZ Fringe Festival 2014

Production Details

A solo physical theatre piece about a box-headed character called Shu.

Hi there! Our new theatre company, Arte Visuale, is putting on a show called ‘Shu’ as part of the 2014 Fringe Festival. It is a solo piece of physical theatre about a quirky little box-headed character called Shu. The piece has no speech, instead utilising movement, sound, and lighting to tell the story. The piece is written and performed by Laura Gaudin, with stage management and lighting design by Stevie Hancox-Monk. Our company name, Arte Visuale, is an anagram of our first names – Laura and Stevie.

Throughout the piece, you will get to witness and experience things such as a typewriter, disco music, and even vacuuming! The piece is inspired by a love for the little moments in one’s day, which often go unnoticed or unappreciated. The show depicts ordinary, everyday events in ways which are exciting and a little bit magical.

Shu is a family friendly show, involving clowning and unusual soundscapes. Shu is for anyone who enjoys coffee, fun, and dancing. It is also for everyone else.

Gryphon Theatre
(22 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro)
11th – 15th
of February 
Approximately 40 minutes long 
$15 full, $12 concession, $10 Fringe Addict 
$5 Fringe Artist

Book online at

Check out our Facebook page at

Shu is back in a Fringe Festival return season, with additional fun!  It is a story of friendship between a typewriter and box-headed character called Shu.  The piece has no dialogue – the story instead being told through things such as fancy lights, disco music, and shadow puppets.  There’s even vacuuming!  This weird assortment got us nominated for best production design in the 2014 NZ Fringe Festival.  A family friendly show that is “very frequently charming” (Theatreview); Shu is for kids and adults who enjoy coffee, fun, and dancing.  It is also for everyone else.

Presented by Laura Gaudin and James Ruscoe – some Victoria University students.

“We had to do a short solo performance for a university assignment, so I decided it would be fun to put a box on my head.  This then developed into a larger project for Fringe, which was super daunting, so we drank lots of tea.  Then a show happened.  And now it’s happening again.  Thanks to our experience with Fringe, we have been lucky enough to get a return season at BATS.  We’re stoked” – Laura

The show will be held at BATS Theatre, on the corner of Cuba and Dixon Streets,
at 6.30pm each night from the 8th till the 12th of April. 
It will be approximately 55 minutes long. 
Tickets are $10 for Children, $13 Concession, and $16 Full. 
There’s also a $12 deal if you go in a group of 6 or more people, and a $10 student night on Wednesday the 9th! 
You can book online at, or call (04) 802 4175.

Writer/performer: Laura Gaudin
Writer/operator: James Ruscoe
Operator: Stevie Hancox-Monk

Theatre ,

55 mins

Charming, quirky work

Review by Hannah Smith 09th Apr 2014

Shu is a character with a box on her head.  She wants to find a friend. 

A solo clowning piece with no text is an ambitious challenge, and Arte/Visuale make a solid effort with a production that is endearing and inventive, if somewhat lacking in terms of execution and pay off. 

Developed by performer/creator Laura Gaudin from a 5 min solo first performed at Victoria University, this is a re-boot of the show’s first outing in the NZ Fringe Festival last month. Gaudin shares her daily routine and developing friendship with a Brother Deluxe 850TR Typewriter in a fifty minute exploration of loneliness and love. Offbeat and often charming, the story is built from a series of set-pieces, forming the routine of Shu’s day.

While its heart is in the right place, and many creative ideas are at play, often the pay-off does not eventuate. Energy and audience connection are issues – we are not complicit with Shu in her endeavours, rather our presence is an unexplained accident. The games that form the blocks from which the show is built are sometimes rushed and sometimes drag. There is a lot of potential, but few of the set ups are given the necessary precision of execution to actually land. 

Arte/Visuale clearly has a strong vision for the work they wish to create. The set design is excellent: cardboard boxes and screens create a strange retro world of electronics and sepia, striking the right notes of nostalgia and peculiar.  Lights and sound, operated by James Ruscoe, add to the piece –music is particularly effective at lifting the energy onstage, and a more extensive soundtrack (particularly some pre-show music to play the audience in) could help. 

On opening night a scene-stealing toddler in the front row narrates a loud commentary to the entire performance and Gaudin copes with this well, carrying her performance on without hesitation, despite salutations to “Wake UP” and loud (though generally positive) enquiries as to her motivations and purpose. The show clearly resonates with this young audience member, and I think if pushed firmly in this direction, would be very successful with young children. 

Charming, quirky work from a new company – I am interested to see what they do next.


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Fun, entertaining, and occasionally surprising

Review by Hannah August 12th Feb 2014

“A solo physical theatre piece about a box-headed character called Shu”. The opening line of the publicity material for Arte Visuale’s Fringe show in some ways makes a review of the play redundant – the show’s not really “about” anything other than performer Laura Gaudin spending forty minutes on stage with a cardboard box over her head.

This is the type of fringe theatre that either charms or exasperates its audience, and it is to Arte Visuale’s credit that Shu is not once exasperating, and is very frequently charming.

The show opens with Gaudin clambering out of a scaffold-mounted bed and descending onto a stage strewn with boxes and appliances, and it’s the relationship between her anthropomorphised box and these appliances (principally a Brother Deluxe 850TR Typewriter) that the play imagines.

It does so using mime, shadow play, an effective low-fi sound and lighting design, and an endearingly sincere performance from Gaudin. To produce a collective “aw” from an audience is no mean feat when your face has been covered by a box with two cut-out squares for eyes.

There are some great moments of humour, particularly in the dance sequences, and the audible chuckling of the children in the audience indicates that Arte Visuale could be making more of their decision to bill the show as “family friendly”.

If the point of the play’s narrative is hard to grasp (and it’s entirely possible it doesn’t have a point at all), there’s not much wrong with that. Shu is fun, entertaining, and occasionally surprising, in a good kind of way.

It’s the sort of show that answers the sceptical theatregoer’s “Why?” with a shoulder-shrugging “Why not?”, and is a fine addition to the schedule of anyone looking for a varied and eclectic Fringe experience.


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