Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

28/10/2014 - 01/11/2014

Production Details


“Excellent slices of theatre that makes up for one brave, exciting night of broadening your horizons.” – The Lumiere  

“The Basement has once again programmed a set of works that, while could easily stand alone in their own right, advantageously complement each other. More please.” – Theatre Scenes 

Red Leap Theatre are hungry to announce the second season of THE FEAST, a dynamic banquet of three devised short works using physical theatre, spoken word poetry, shadow and clown to tell three very different stories. One ticket, three shows – with hot soup and time to chat between “meals”.

THE FEAST occurs as part of Red Leap Theatre’s annual INCUBATOR programme. It brings established and emerging practitioners together as a skill-sharing innovation at The Basement Theatre, from 28th October to 1st November 2014.The three works to be performed in a triple-bill for THE FEAST 2014 are:
The Perfect Original developed by Jess Holly Bates, directed by Robin Kerr 
Sinoatrial by Robert Mignault, directed by Holly Chappell
Mr. Nancy by Felix Becroft. 

For our first course, we have Jess Holly Bates with a flavoursome entree, THE PERFECT ORGINAL. 

A modern exotic tale of New Zealand and it’s many splendid inhabitants, this is collision of occupation, anxiety and the ordered chaos of the Kiwi identity. Jess Holly Bates (BSc, MA) is a multi-disciplinary creative. Her first short play, Lucky C*ntry, won her Best Actress and two script awards in the Short and Sweet Festival 2013. Having won the Page-2-Stage performance poetry programme, Jess has been sponsored to take her work to London. She has just returned from a UK tour with her solo spoken word theatre show REAL FAKE WHITE DIRT, performing in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. The Perfect Original is directed by Robin Kerr. 

For a meaty second course, enter Robert Mignault with SINOATRIAL. 

Lurking at the intersection of knowledge, chaos, loss and love, is a cluster of cells in the heart called the Sinoatrial Node. It’s the electrical pacemaker that decides whether you live or die — and no one is in charge. Robert Mignault is an experienced teacher, director and performer across US, Canada and New Zealand. Passionate about non-verbal modes of theatre including movement, mask, image and multi-modal theatre, he works with longtime collaborator, actor/musician/improv artist Sally Howe. Sinoatrial is directed by Holly Chappell.

For the final course, both delicate and cutting, we have Felix Becroft with MR NANCY.

What do defunct Gods do when no one remembers them? Deep under the ocean the West African God Anansi and the Viking Loki are wrestling with the boredom of eternity when a man falls in their midst. Felix Becroft worked with migrant youth arts project Mixit on the devised show Access and beyond. Mr. Nancy is directed by Ella Becroft. 

An evening that will inspire the senses and incite conversation, we invite you to experience a three course meal of short-form theatre – sharing conversation and homemade soup in-between each show. THE FEAST 2014 is a chance to witness challenging and courageous theatre that will leave you hungry for more. 

Red Leap Theatre presents THE FEAST 2014 
The Basement, Lower Grey’s Ave, Auckland CBD 
28th October – 1st November 2014, 8pm (2pm matinee on 1st November) 
Tickets on sale from 

Mr Nancy
Felix Becroft – Project Initiator/Cast/Live Musician
Ella Becroft – Director
Fathe Tesfamariam – Cast
Tawanda Manyimo – Cast
Lutz Hamn – Co Director

The Perfect Orignal
Jess Holly Bates – Project Initiator /Cast
Director – Robin Kerr
Leon Wadham – Cast
Romy Hooper – Cast
Victoria Abbott – Cast 

The Sinoatrial Mode
Robert Mignault – Project Initiator / Cast
Holly Chappell –Director
Claire Van Beek – Cast
William Robertson – Cast

Producer: Lavinia ’Uhila – supported by Red Leap’s management and Ella Becroft who produced THE FEAST in 2013.

Unique explorations of craft, imagination, style and taste

Review by Johnny Givins 29th Oct 2014

The Feast is three extraordinary pieces of creative theatre that have emerged from the 2014 Red Leap incubator programme.  Each course is quite different in taste, smell, ingredients and cooking technique.  The result is a creative meal of substance and delight. 

First course is an extraordinary mixture of reality, mask, and surreal action with a strange twist.  The Perfect Original – developed by Jess Holly Bates and directed by Robin Kerr – has a busy set with a couch, detritus of modern daily living, and cardboard cut outs for a partial backdrop, lots of branches, plastic bags and stuff.

It starts with the four Pakeha actors giving their whakapapa in English. Then it dives off to OE in Istanbul, then we are in the NZ bush with a cat and possum who shoot guns, then back to a dirty and dingy Kingsland flat and a very stuffed up young woman and her fish.

I must admit to being thoroughly confused trying to work out what this performance was all about! I wanted each of the bits to make sense within its creative world and link together.  However I now realize that was one of the major points of The Perfect Original: the world just doesn’t make sense. 

Each scene is a collision of ideas and social conventions.  Everyone is an alien.  The use of Māori tikanga mixed with Pakeha interpretation is humorous but also real.  It touches on the Kiwi desire for belonging and the chaos resulting from our anxieties. Jess Holly Bates plays a needy, vulnerable greenie with all the logical and emotional anxieties of a young woman searching for her ‘real’ self.  She has strange man in her life (Leon Wadham) who spins outrageous ideas into webs of recognisable reality and truth with deadpan precision and wonderful clarity. 

Victoria Abbott and Romy Hooper don the cat and possum masks and establish a strange creative world of hunting and killing to the tune of Maori Girl.  Again they are Aliens in our landscape.  It is strange but alluring. 

After a cup of soup and bread its back to a completely different empty set with a drum, guitar and bucket of water!  Directed by Ella Becroft and Lutz Hamm, Mr Nancy by Felix Becroft is a modern classic of physical story telling. Three actors – Felix Becroft, Fathe Testfamariam and Tawanda Manyimo – create the story-telling world with true ensemble spirit and energy. 

They tell the story of two gods: the Viking Loki (Felix Becroft), a face stealing trickster with power of fire, and the West African god Anansi (Fathe Testfamariam), the spider god and holder of knowledge of all stories. Both gods are ‘forgotten’ and dwell in the boredom of eternity inside the belly of a huge sea creature. A human scientist, played by Tawanda Manyimo, exploring the deep, suddenly arrives in their world and chaos ensues.  Fragments of ancient stories flash past as the trio use their powers to communicate. 

Loki and Anansi are filled with energy as they discover, torment and entertain their new arrival.  The scientist also has a few tricks which he creates with passion and delight, resulting in disasters.  The three actors explode with energy and precision as they jump, fall and cavort through a delightfully entertaining and enthralling performance. 

After another cup of soup and carrot cake it’s back to the theatre completely redressed with a full-stage white fabric screen and floor covering.  Starting with ants and bees, Sinoatrial by Robert Mignault, directed by Holly Chappell, explores chaos, synchronicity, the order of self-regulating systems and the amazing creation – the human heart. 

Robert Mignault guides us through a lecture exploring worlds of mutual support and individual responsibility with no overall leadership.  He concentrates on the extraordinary group of cells in the heart called the Sinoatrial. They are the ones that are the ‘electrical pacemaker’ and decide how your heart operates all those valves. You live or die because of these cells!

It is a thought-provoking and imaginative theatre piece.  Mignault has two assistants – Claire van Beek and William Robertson – who change the slides, cut the curtain, draw, prepare the operating theatre and finally assist in the heart operation which has a great ending.  They are both efficient, clinical and with little emotion turn the screen into a living piece of art.  Although the show is actually an illustrated lecture it is visual entertaining and stimulating. This piece could be developed as it touches on physical and spiritual elements that merit expansion.

Three new works developed and nurtured by Red Leap.  All three are quite unique explorations of our craft, imagination, style and taste.  A great theatrical meal… Can I have more… Please! 


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Soup for the Imagination

Review by James Wenley 29th Oct 2014

Now in its second year, The Feast has the potential to be one of the most important avenues for development of new work. Created through Red Leap Theatre’s incubator program, the company’s physical theatre devising process is used as a springboard for the development of new work from its participants.

The Feast marks the point the work is produced for a paid audience, and includes three works for one bargain ticket: The Perfect Original developed by Jess Holly Bates, Mr Nancy by Ella Beecroft, and Sinoatrial by Robert Mignault. While last year’s gastronomic metaphor included themed cupcakes to represent each show, and a special POP dining night, this year the artists are serving soup during the interval of each show to get the conversational juices flowing about the work. [More]


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