BATS Theatre, Wellington

09/03/2015 - 14/03/2015

Meteor Theatre, 1 Victoria Street, Hamilton

04/10/2012 - 06/10/2012

Hamilton Fringe 2012

Production Details

Like My Status by Arthur Whiteman.
Yogalogues: Some Curious Musings by Amber Crystal.
Don’t Touch the Butter by Johan Spunkmeyer.
The Paark by Umlaut Seven.
Native Birds of New Zealand by Mark McMarkson.
A-CORD-dance by Gyna.
Teh Interwebs by Anonymous.

Six Bad Arthouse Plays grew out of the fact that all avant-garde theatre is actually really funny. It’s usually unintentionally funny, which makes it considerably funnier. The funniest thing is, of course, is that the audience steadfastly maintains that nothing funny is going on. As soon as someone snorts, the game is up, and the audience spends the rest of the time trying very hard to maintain their po-faces and not collapse in giggles.

Six Bad Arthouse Plays is based on the bold premise that intentionally bad avant-garde theatre is indistinguishable from any other kind of avant-garde theatre. In acknowledging that it is, in fact, bad, it allows the audience to do something they’re not usually supposed to do at an avant-garde performance – laugh. Plus, it allows some of Hamilton’s most talented writers and directors the chance to be as weird as their imaginations and a hilariously low budget will allow.

Conceptualised and produced by Joshua Drummond, who is in semi-regular paid employment as a kind of village idiot at a number of major media organisations, (including the Waikato Times,) Six Bad Arthouse Plays is seven short plays that takes the proud tradition of avant-garde theatre, drags it out quietly behind the shed and shoots it repeatedly, in a manner that is simultaneously cruel, truthful, amusing and merciful.

Thurs 4th, Fri 5th, Sat 6th Oct 2012,  9pm


“Six Bad Arthouse Plays is theatre as it truly is,” says Umlaut Seven, director of The Paark. 

“Six Bad Arthouse Plays is like if seven different people united and brought, like, theatre with them. With butter,” says Amber Crystal, director of Yogalogues (Some Curious Musings).

“Six Bad Arthouse Plays is like seeing a puppy run over a tank,” says Johann Spunkmeyer, director of Don’t Touch The Butter.

“You will,” says Arthur Whiteman, director of Like My Status. 

“Six Bad Arthouse Plays is abuse. It’s abuse.” says Gyna, director of A Cord Dance.

“Six Bad Arthouse Plays is like Twilight, but with a better love story, a bit like Fifty Shades of Grey, but with more Harry Potter fan-fiction,” says Audrey Hillcrest, director of Teh Interwebs.

“Six Bad Arthouse Plays is a bit weird,” says Mark McMarkson, director of Native Birds of New Zealand.

Six Bad Arthouse Plays was first performed at the Hamilton Fringe Festival in 2012, where it sold out every night of its run and was hailed as the “highlight of the Fringe” for some reason. The 2015 New Zealand Fringe is the play’s first steps outside the warm, nurturing womb of Hamilton and into the cold, indignant, gale-force air of Our Nation’s Capital.

It is being performed at
for the New Zealand Fringe Festival
from 9 – 14 March
at 7pm 
Tickets are $18 full price, $14 concession, and $12 for Fringe Addicts.

The cast includes:  Joshua Drummond, Louise Blackstock, Benny Marama, Stephanie Christian, Ross MacLeod, Bronwyn Williams, Brendan West, Emma Koretz, Dave Taylor, Mike Taylor, Tim Kapoor, Jono Carter and Clare McDonald

Cast includes Joshua Drummond, Louise Blackstock, Benny Marama, Ross MacLeod, Bronwyn Williams, Brendan West, Emma Koretz, Dave Taylor, Mike Taylor, Mike Taylor, Mike Taylor, Mike Taylor, Mike Taylor, Jono Carter, and features Tim Kapoor as himself.

Theatre ,

Brilliant with something for everyone

Review by Liza Kire 21st Mar 2015

Are we good?
Are we bad?
Because above all, we are ART! 

Earth without art is just eh. Something so true and shown through the skillful and witty words spoken and performed by the small cast of Apocalypse Lounge’s Six Bad Arthouse Plays. The Meteor theatre in Hamilton has once again shown the beauty of blackbox theatre in an intimate performance that speaks to the generation we all co-exist with now.

The show features six small slices of life that provide an eclectic mix of sensory tastes leaving no person in the audience feeling left out in terms of what one expects from theatre. A show which has an order of descending crudeness and chaos. 

Six Bad Arthouse Plays starts as soon as the audience walks through the door where we get to see the cast warming up and laugh at the different techniques that people use before one steps onto the stage to perform. I love how raw the experience is of being able to sit down and prepare for something with the audience and cast.

Opening with a speech about how and what art is or may be leaves the audience questioning, yet agreeing that there is no definitive answer for theatre; that everything is art and truly does depend on the eye of the beholder; that what I deem to be a particular piece of art in fact could be deemed as rubbish by someone else. 

The use of eloquent language as well as simple perfect straight-to-the-point blunt terms is a sensory overload that leaves me satisfied throughout the entirety of the show.

Beginning with ‘Like My Status’, a small slice of life about society and how it has become so enveloped with social media, resonates so hard with me because from the instant it starts I find myself being able to visualise every single word, movement and emoticon spelled out by the actors. Although I am left feeling disgusted at myself, I am also left thinking about how I need to be less involved with my online life and appreciate the beauty of the world without seeing everything through a screen or a camera lens. 

The next play is ‘Yogalogues’, a performance that I feel shows the femininity and power of women. Everything is so sexualised and shows how women are perceived in this day and age as either broody and confused, strong and feisty or young and dim-witted, all while being objectified by the way they move and their mannerisms.

Words and feelings that can be missed by a male because they are more interested in the actions of a female and the way they sit or smile or stare intently whilst talking to you … Distracting in a seductive way that causes men to not hear a word that is said. 

The performance that follows is my favourite of the night. ‘Don’t Touch The Butter’ is an intense showcase which leaves me thinking about the different classes in society and where one fits in the hierarchy; a game show that involves the entire cast and a stick of butter that no one is allowed to touch. A great performance by actor Brendan West as the German host complete with perfect accent.

Watching this carry on is hilarious and so intriguing that I find myself becoming obsessed with the butter and feel like leaping from my chair to touch it. The consensus from some of the audience being: watching them staring and trying not to touch the butter makes me stare and want to touch the butter. Simple yet effective, this play shows that you may not have as much control as you think you do. 

‘The Paark’ is oddly pleasing: slowed down and weird; funny yet so stupid; no real order or storyline yet memorable and fascinating. Watching what seems like two ‘simple/special’ guys talk absolute crap is so funny to me I can’t even describe what I’ve just witnessed. The only thing I can think after that is “what the hell did I just witness?”

After ‘The Paark’ comes ‘Native Birds of New Zealand’, one I know the audience enjoys purely for the comedic timing. Watching a group of people acting as birds may not sound like it’s going to be hilarious but you wait! If ever there was an excuse to see this production, knowing that there is a near naked guy shuffling on a skateboard with a Kiwi beak tied to his waist and thrusting across the stage is definitely the reason.

You may need to mentally prepare for the next play, ‘A Cord Dance’, as this one I am not ready for at all. The most crude and raw of them all, this performance shows the process of female giving birth to two fully grown women. This play indicates to me that women possess a lot of power when it comes to the opposite sex. I think the use of extension power cords and sockets is extremely clever representing the sexual connection between men and women.

What I’m not prepared for is hearing blatant terms used to define female genitalia. I mean we all know they exist but for some reason when they’re said in your face in a room full of people, it somehow becomes uncomfortable but this performance helps you to realise that this is a way of life and by no means should we be ashamed at all of it. Emma Koretz plays the ‘mother’ and gives a strong performance as a proud female who never backs down. 

The last play, ‘Teh Interwebs’, is a beautifully choreographed piece that hits the mark in terms of internet relationships. Showing through movement how easy it is to become the prey and how easy it is to prey on others, this performance has strong messages that should be addressed by all. It shows what the internet has become and how everyone is consumed by it; how you can easily be catfished and fall in love with a complete stranger through to how people interact with friends and family through Facebook. It demonstrates the access to porn and paedophilia online: something I think about protecting my child from. 

Six Bad Arthouse Plays is a brilliant piece of work with something for everyone; a show that I’m sure will be successful for many more seasons to come. Make sure you get yourself a ticket when it hits your town. You will NOT be disappointed. 

In the words of Apocalypse Lounge: “Enjoy. Or don’t. We’re TOO ARTHOUSE TO CARE.”


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Subversive in more ways than one

Review by John Smythe 10th Mar 2015

My heart sinks on reading the handout page I pick up at the Bats Theatre box office. I don’t have a PhD in Theatre Studies and more often than not when I read the writings of those who have, my brain scrambles and my eyes glaze over. But of course that’s the point here. And it’s clear, at last, in the bottom line: “Wankity wankity wank. Etc.”

The actors’ warm-up in progress under The Dome – the males demonstrative and sometimes aggressive; the females more meditative – sets the tone for the short plays to follow, after a suitably pompous dissertation on what art is.

Each writer/ director introduces their piece in various flavours of verbosity (or not) and competence (or not), whereupon the ensemble, largely consisting of said writer /directors, enacts it.

Thus Arthur Whiteman’s ‘Like My Status’ manifests a faceless (backlit) Facebook experience; Amber Crystal’s ‘Yogalogues: Some Curious Musings’ gets curiouser and curiouser … Then someone called Mary, who has just been dumped again, invades the scheduled programme with her story about a dishwasher (sic) that steal socks.   

Johan Spunkmeyer’s ‘Don’t Touch the Butter’ evokes an old East German TV game show; Umlaut Seven’s ‘The Paark’ offers classic absurdism and icecreams; Mark McMarkson’s presents his pre-colonial paean to NZ native birds where fights on stage turn out to be allegorical.

A woman called Gyna refuses to introduce her piece because men are present in the audience, but she does lead the women in ‘A-CORD-dance’ to reveal women’s innermost secrets. Audrey Hilcrest completes what are actually Seven Bad Arthouse Plays with ‘Teh (sic) Interweb’: a cautionary tale that comes to a literal climax.  

The actual names of the Apocalypse Lounge group from Hamilton are Joshua Drummond, Louise Blackstock, Benny Marama, Ross MacLeod, Bronwyn Williams, Brendan West, Emma Koretz, Dave Taylor, Mike Taylor, Jono Carter and Tim Kapoor. With earnest flair they play to their strengths in ways that make virtues of what may be weaknesses in a more conventional show.

Lurking below what, on the surface, is a wonderful piss-take of Euro-centric academic and arthaus pretensions, the odd profound insight into humanity and our lack of it compels our attention at a different level.

Six (or Seven) Bad Arthouse Plays is (or are) subversive in more ways than one. Recommended.


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A hoot!

Review by Brenda Rae Kidd 05th Oct 2012

Ummmmmmmmmm.  Yes…. Well?  

Brought to life for the Hamilton Fringe Festival by Apocalypse Lounge, Six Bad Arthouse Plays is funny, ironic and one rollicking big piss-take!

Although, if you were to read the thesis of a preamble given on entry, you would – like me – be:
a) rueful about the neglect to bring a dictionary therefore
b) attempt to deconstruct what you could indeed comprehend while you
c) stifle the desire to run for the door.

Luckily the full house suggested that this may not be quite what it seems.

Six Bad Arthouse Plays is a hoot! Actually there are seven plays and they are indeed bad – so so bad they’re beyond!  Beyond good. I haven’t laughed out loud like that in a long time. 

We Kiwis do make the serious seem, well, very very silly. It may be the southern isolation or the fat content in our milk but we do take the ironic to an art form.

Tonight – in this case – it is the absurdity of avant-garde theatre. The quality of scriptwriting and acting is exceptional and it is tempting to cover all but I fear that I could not do justice in words to what transpires on stage.

So to my personal highlights.

Like My Status, directed by Benny Marama, is an ode to Facebook and I suspect the hilarity comes from the familiar. Judging from the guffaws in the audience, there are more then just a couple Facebook junkies amongst us.

Gyna’s A-CORD-dance is a tale of feminism directed by Stephanie Christian who is also one of the standout actors of the night.  Squeamishly hilarious – the whole set up is just a riot – no body part remains sacred.

Teh Interwebs, directed by Audrey Hillcrest, is a dance.  The dance of the internet.  Figures become the icons we all identify and themes of lust,  desire, need and want are played out in jest.

Of special note is Native Birds of New Zealand, clearly the audience favourite.  Directed by the Joshua Drummond, one of Waikato’s brightest protégés, it shows promise in madness.

The full cast includes Joshua Drummond, Louise Blackstock, Benny Marama, Stephanie Christian, Ross MacLeod, Bronwyn Williams, Brendan West, Emma Koretz, Dave Taylor, Mike Taylor, Tim Kapoor, Jono Carter and Clare McDonald.

I would say to all go see Six Bad Arthouse Plays: get amongst them.  But I will leave it to the esteemed words of Mr. Drummond himself: “Enjoy. Or don’t. We’re TOO ARTHOUSE TO CARE.”


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