Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

15/10/2013 - 19/10/2013

Production Details


Auckland audiences hungry for something fresh, delectable and above all else, interesting will find their appetite satisfied from October 15th. Playing at The Basement Theatre, The Feast serves up a three-course meal of tantalizing new trends in the theatre world.

Across five nights, emerging theatre makers Le Petit Workshop, Refiner’s Fire and Nikki Bennett and Company offer up metaphorical dishes rich with puppetry, Pacific theatre and delightful clowning. Having gone through Red Leap Theatre’s Incubator programme, these three talented groups were nurtured and selected to go forward to the company’s Short Works series, performing work-in-progresses to an audience of theatre professionals in April of this year. The Feast is the culmination of two processes of development – idea generation and audience feedback.

This third and final stage of development (“cooking”) sees a professional season available to the general public. If the programming wasn’t enough to entice theatre-goers, on Friday night 18 Oct, The Basement plan to offer an actual three-course meal, with each theatre company designing a dish tailored for their show and cooked by POPdining ( ).

Le Petit Workshop’s The Soldier’s Heart and The Feathered Girl explores a collection of folk tales written by the company, centred on the journey of a girl born covered in feathers. Visually stunning, combining folklore with a profusion of 3D and shadow puppetry, The Soldier’s Heart and The Feathered Girl is a sweet and sour love story, garnished with authentic originality.

Halfatasi, served by Refiner’s Fire, blends of European theatrical tradition with Samoan movement, song and culture – with a side of history and drizzled with identity and crisis. The work explores what it means to be born into two cultures and the conflicts that arise while living a double identity. The clash of Europe and Pasifika creates what can only be described as a “mouth-wateringly fresh theatrical voice.”

The final course comes in the form of Nikki Bennett and Company’s The Clowns That Ran Away From The Circus; a tale of a delightfully naïve clown who runs away from the circus to explore the big and often terrifying city. Immersed in the marinade of childish play, bouffon, large and small-scale props, projection and mask, these diverse flavours spark with elements of surprise – finishing off the night with great satisfaction. 

The structure of The Feast event has been influenced by traditional practices of a Samoan banquet. Opening and closing with the traditional Samoan formality of speech and song, the audience will be both metaphorically and literally fed by their theatre company hosts. Every night a selection of “treats” that reference the theatrical themes and motifs of the previous show will be offered between each performance.

The Feast presents the best of Auckland’s emerging creative minds and gives audiences a chance to see what is the very best in new trends within the theatre world.

THE FEAST plays:
15th – 19th October 2013, 7:30pm 
The Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Avenue 
Tickets: $25:00 (POPdining night, Fri 18/10 – $50 including a three course meal) 
Bookings: or 0508 ITICKET. 

THE SOLDIER’S HEART AND THE FEATHERED GIRL features: Ella Becroft, Ash Jones, Katrina Wesseling, Alisha Lawrie Paul

HALFATASI features: Antonia Stehlin, Seidah Tuaoi, Mele Taeiloa, Lavinia Uhila

THE CLOWNS THAT RAN AWAY FROM THE CIRCUS features:  Nikki Bennett, Robert Mignault 

Theatre , Multi-discipline ,

My compliments to the chef

Review by Matt Baker 17th Oct 2013

After having been selected through Red Leap Theatre’s Incubator Programme and workshopped through its Short Work Showcase, Le Petit Workshop, Refiner’s Fire Collective, and Nikki Bennett and Company have each produced a delectable piece of theatre, presented under the collective title of The Feast. Advertised as a mouth-watering feast of fresh theatre, each show is concluded with a light snack, with the pièce de résistance being Friday night’s POPdining pop-up restaurant, featuring a three-course dinner menu. 

First up is The Soldier’s Heart and The Feathered Girl, which has all the right components for both a fairytale and a show. However, in an effort to stretch it from its original 10-minute Short+Sweet format, the new material results in a slightly convoluted narrative drive, sitting indeterminately between the hero’s journey and the epic. The show relies heavily on its impressive set, designed by Jessika Verryt, props, constructed with the assistance of Ben Anderson, and costumes, and in doing so gives us a minimal amount of dialogue, instead, choosing to tell the story like a picture book, with musician Hannah Fraser providing an eclectic live score. [More]


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Delicious treats

Review by Heidi North 16th Oct 2013

It’s easy to be seduced by the idea of The Feast. Structured like a Samoan Banquet, it promises to feed the audience both metaphorically and literally with three new works and a series of edible treats. Having gone through Red Leap Theatre’s Incubator programme, the three works on offer were selected to go forward to the company’s Short Works series, have had audience and theatre professional feedback and are now ready to go forth to the general public. 

The first offering, Le Petit Workshop’s The Soldier’s Heart and The Feathered Girl, is both a whimsical puppet show and a dark fairy tale. It centres on a girl born covered in feathers who falls in love with a solder. Constructed in a cardboard fantasy world, it is both funny and tender, with great puppetry work, and nice mix of puppetry styles. The horse, ‘He’, is a particularly great character and his taming is a highlight.

The second offering, Halfatasi, by the Refiner’s Fire Collective, is a spirited physical theatre piece by four young Samoan women grappling with the question of being half Samoan, half European. Identity and place, skin and belonging are all woven together with movement, song and some wonderful drumming. 

The final morsel, The Clown That Ran Away From the Circus, by Nikki Bennett and Company is a delight. A European-style clown show about a clown that runs away from the circus. Each clown character is well established, with Nikki Bennett’s clown doing a stunning job of holding the audience in the palm of her hand.  Much hilarity ensues with the lion taming. This show would be razor sharp with some tightening, and I look forward to seeing what Nikki Bennett does next.  

While the first and third piece would benefit from tightening, especially in a three-bill format, overall, The Feast offers three innovative new theatre pieces showcasing a range of emerging talent.  The delicious edible treats are a delight too, sweetening the waiting period between each performance.  I’m sure the pop up dining experience on Friday evening will be an experience not to be missed.


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