BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

26/02/2022 - 27/02/2022

NZ Fringe Festival 2022

Production Details

New Zealand’s new queer musical fixation

“The best shows are fun, a little morbid and gay. So why stray too far from what the best shows do” – Viki Moananu, Co-director for The Ghost Show

Wellington’s Oh That Theatre Company presents The Ghost Show. An hour long original musical at BATS set to premiere as part of the Fringe Festival on the 26 & 27 of February 2022.

Oh That Theatre Company is an emerging Wellington company fresh out of Victoria University’s theatre program. Their first production is a musical written in collaboration with Lizzy Burton-Wood, Daisy Vahey-Bourne and Olive Riordan.

The Ghost Show is a funny little lighthearted musical that explores the romance between two students separated by one’s untimely death. The comedy is co-directed by first time directors, Viki Moananu and Olive Riordan. Olive Riordan laments about the touching love story.

“Young people from all over the country need love stories in a pandemic” Says Ms Riordan “especially an overtly queer and happy one. That is what’s at the heart of this musical”

This production is put on as part of the Fringe Festival. A performing arts event that takes place from the 18th of February to the 12th of March.

This show is also partly funded by CreativeNZ. Lizzy Burton-Wood, actor, writer and music director provides insights into why this is so crucial.

“Our company is a very new one, but we have so much passion behind this project” says Lizzy Burton-Wood. “We’re immensely grateful that Fringe, BATS and CreativeNZ support us in creating and staging queer stories”

With a cast of seven actors, a crew of six and a seven week rehearsal period the show is a big project for an emerging company.

The Ghost Show opens at BATS on Saturday 26 February at 6:30.

BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Terrace
26-27 February 2022

Due to the red level announcement from the government the show will still go on but with limited capacity. Audience will also have to wear masks for the entire performance.

Writers: Lizzy Burton-Wood, Olive Riordan, Daisy Vahey-Bourne
Composer: Lizzy Burton-Wood
Directors: Viki Moananu & Olive Riordan
Musical Director: Lizzy Burton-Wood

Cast (In order of appearance):
Eliza: Lizzy Burton-Wood
Violet: Jack Carroll
Cosmo: Jak Mitchell
Billy: Josie Eastwood
Scary: Angela Pelham
Jason/Thalia: Lulu Harkness
Priest/Zelda: Morgan Delaney

Production Manager: Viki Moananu
Stage Manager: Daisy Vahey-Bourne
Sound Operator: Linda Dale
Lighting Operator: Matilde Vadseth Fursholm 

Theatre , Musical , Comedy ,

Fabulous cast and standout songs

Review by Emilie Hope 27th Feb 2022

Eliza (Lizzy Burton-Wood) is a bit in love with Violet (Jack Carroll), her flatmate, but she has yet to find the courage to tell her so. And then an unfortunate late night, sobering up snack-making event ends in Eliza finding herself to be a ghost, joining the other ghosts in her flat. Will she live happily ever after life with these newfound friends (and songs)? Or will she finally gain the courage to tell Violet how she feels? Welcome to the comedy musical that is The Ghost Show.

The BATS Dome space is set in a typical flat. A couch sits centre stage with a lamp on one side and a small table filled with vodka bottles, a toaster, and spreads, meant to indicate a cramped Wellington flat kitchen. And while I personally despise couches in set design because they often anchor characters which leads to uninteresting staging, thankfully co-directors Olive Riordan and Viki Moananu create dynamic movements for the characters and the couch never feels like an anchor.

The lighting (Matilde Vadseth Fursholm) is used to create the distinct moods of the characters when in song and while they’re in the ‘real world’ in a way that is true to the show’s upbeat atmosphere. Particularly with Eliza, she initially resists singing and doesn’t want to participate as indicated when certain spotlights appear on the stage and Burton-Wood must travel to stand in them, which is not only funny but manages to give lighting some character – something you don’t often see. Usually, lighting blends in and isn’t meant to stand out but The Ghost Show does anything but blend in.

The script by Burton-Wood, Riordan and Daisey Vahey Bourne is snappy and witty. Narratively, it hits all the usual marks but ends rather unusually (I won’t spoil what happens!). Although I don’t quite understand how Billy (Josie Eastwood), the American cowboy ghost, died on the land the house was built on after 1603 when his love stole his truck… Something doesn’t quite add up here, but I’m willing to forgive it and move on with the show.

Even though Eliza and Violet are the same gender, the show isn’t asking whether or not Violet is queer. The show instead focuses on Eliza getting over the very scary thing of telling someone you like them, like-like them, love them for the first time: something everyone can relate to. It’s so good to see positive queer stories on stage. I hope we can see more of them in the future.

It would be misleading to say any of the actors are soon to have a career in the music industry, but they can all sing. The songs themselves are a standout, all original, composed and written by Burton-Wood and Riordan, some of them touching, some of them super fun, but all servicing the show and giving their audience a great time.

All the actors of the seven-member cast do a fabulous job. Special mention goes to the charming Jak Mitchell who plays young camp Freddie Mercury look-alike ghost Cosmo who manages to steal my heart, and Angela Pelham as Scary, the murdered bride ghost, who is constantly twitching throughout the show and doesn’t break focus from her character.

The Ghost Show is solid. Everyone who worked on this show should be proud. I hope to see this show have another season soon so more of my musical-loving queer friends can see it. I’m sure everyone, regardless of where you sit on the sexuality spectrum, will enjoy this show. 


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