BATS Theatre, The Heyday Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

08/12/2015 - 12/12/2015

Production Details

MAKING FRIENDS COLLECTIVE, Big Lies, David Klein and Notrevie Productions

Ring in this holiday season with Wellington’s most festive theatremakers! 

In 2013, we brought you Stages of Fear: four visions of terror from some of Wellington’s most exciting young theatre companies. We’ve decided that we’d prefer not to have coal under the Christmas tree this year, so we’ve prepared some presents for Wellington instead!

Join a gang of our city’s brightest young theatremakers at BATS Theatre this December for Stages of Cheer, a giddy celebration of the festive season in all its wonder and absurdity. Stages of Fear alumni Making Friends Collective are joined by Big Lies, David Klein and Notrevie Productions to present an anthology of holiday magic for you and for your kin. So pull up a yule log and grab yourself an eggnog for four holly-jolly shows, and who knows…the big man himself might even drop in.

THE MAKING FRIENDS COLLECTIVE is Adam Goodall, Amy Griffin-Browne, Andrew Clarke, Flinn Gendall, Johnny Crawford and Tony Black. Their most recent credits are Knifed, Cleanskin, The Good News and Proficiency Test (Golden Nugget for Promising Concept, NZ Fringe Awards 2015).

BIG LIES is Abby Howells and Alex Wilson. Their most recent credits are Moose Murders, Glocknid: Dwarf Warrior (Best Newcomer: Wellington, NZ Comedy Festival Awards 2015) and Pupil Zero (Runner-up: Best in Fringe, Dunedin Fringe Awards 2015).

DAVID KLEIN is a writer and performer who likes to blur the boundaries between science communication and theatre. His most recent credit is Towards a Better Understanding of the Universe (Best Newcomer, NZ Fringe Awards 2015).

APPLE BOX BRAND is Sasha Tilly and Jake Brown, a company focused on b ringing you exciting and youthful new works with a distinctly New Zealand flavour.

Stages of Cheer
The Dome, BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington
7:30pm, Tues 8th – Sat 12th December
Tickets to Stages of Cheer can be booked online at
or by calling (04) 802 4175.
Tickets are $18 full or $14 concession.



Santa Claus:  Rosie Cann /Jonny Paul 


Join your Third Favourite Interdimensional Being (after Santa and Jesus) to find out the true meaning of Christmas!

Written, directed and performed by David Klein


A cat with justice on its mind visits an old friend on Christmas Eve. 

Director Alex Wilson
Writer Abby Howells
Cinnamon Abby Howells
Martha Josephine Byrnes


Doctor Ornithomima Quetzalcamemanon may have broken countless interplanetary bylaws but she’s about to find out from Customs Officer Ramphy that her true offence... is a lack of Rodan Beakington Day spirit.

Director Andrew Clarke
Writer Johnny Crawford
Sound/Lighting Flinn Gendall
Puppet Design Anna Stuart
Doctor Orno Harriet Hughes
Officer Ramphy Andrew Clarke
The EBE Johnny Crawford


I’m Tasha and I'm a Christmasoholic! This year it's going to be PERFECT!!!

Director Jake Brown
Tasha Sasha Tilly

Theatre ,

Truthful look at what Christmas can mean

Review by Maraea Rakuraku 11th Dec 2015

I groan a little when Santa Claus (Rosie Cann) warms us up by encouraging Christmas spirit, in the form of singing and other such yuletide nonsense. I join in somewhat reluctantly, all the while hoping the rest of the programme isn’t going to be as forced. And what happens, of course, is some magic (sorry Santa) – first, in the form of David Klein and ‘It’s An Infinite Christmas’.

It takes me a while to recognise him from an earlier show this year. That is, until he starts talking about the Universe and parallel universes and proceeds to blow my mind. This guy is magic. What he talks about so sincerely, truthfully and honestly in a way that my addled pre-Christmas brain can grasp, is theory about our world(s). Sure, it’s a set-up to the other three acts that follow but the way he delivers the monologue with hilariously timed props, makes me believe.

I may not understand fully what he is saying and its complexities but I absolutely respond to the way he says it; the pace, focus and intent of his words. It’s engrossing and riveting. And if he is the Universe (in this work), which is what he seems to be alluding to, he is taking credit for a whole load of your life occurrences. However, the strength and beauty of ‘It’s An Infinite Christmas’ and David Klein, is that he is well aware that this is a co-created existence /experience; that, “Every single decision reached in your life, is your own.” Powerful.

Thirty minutes later, Santa rolls in again heralding a staging reset. I’m more receptive, this time, to the festive mood as such, settle in for what I can only hope is a good follow-up and ‘Crossbow Cat’ (Big Lies) delivers. It has me and others laughing and laughing.

Cleverly written by Abby Howells and directed by Alex Wilson, it involves two characters: Martha (Josephine Byrnes) and the titular cat, Cinnamon (Howells). The way in which Howells encompasses her character, makes it very hard to pull your eyes away. Rather than talk spoilers, let’s just say anyone who has a cat in their life will absolutely get this.

Ten or so minutes later, it is intermission which allows for a more major reset. . We are in ‘Alien Customs’ (Making Friends Collective), written by Johnny Crawford and directed by Andrew Clarke. It takes a few minutes to settle into the story … Puppets people! Pterodactyl Puppets! Designed by Anna Stuart, they are as unique and full of character as those operating them: Dr Orno (Harriet Hughes) and Officer Ramphy (Clarke).

There is a truckload of dialogue. Some of the expositional content I miss, especially Dinosaur 101, but the humour layered within this work makes up for that. My sole criticism would be that from where I am seated, the positioning of the watercooler makes it difficult to see. By the time it winds up, the message is very clear: watch yourself at the Christmas Do.

Another appearance by Santa, another reset, and in whirls Tasha (Sasha Tilly) all Christmased up for ‘How to Plan a Perfect Christmas’ (Apple Box Brand). This seems to be the longest offering (I’m unsure if this is the case as I’ve stopped looking at the clock by this stage). At first, it feels like we’ve stepped into the taping of a reality TV programme, Martha Stewart styles. The voiceover helps with this.

And then the realisation creeps up on me, that this is a blow-by-blow account of a Christmas spirit crushing. It’s kinda hard to watch. Not because Tilly isn’t all in but because of the truth that rings throughout it. Out of all the sketches this is the one I don’t warm to and I’m pretty sure it’s because of my over empathetic desire to step in and save the character, which of course is the point. This is all Christmas anticipation wrapped up with a bow.

Work has gone into Stages of Cheer. All are well crafted works. These stories we all associate with Christmas – pets as victims of Christmas gifts; the aftermath of a Christmas party; all the loaded expectations that surround the celebration – form a strong showing of what Christmas can mean. It’s not cheesy or saccharine or particularly feel-good, even if it does have me humming Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas’ on departure.

What it is, is truthful. Get along to it. There’s only two more performances.  


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council