The Ghosts' Soiree

Mighty Mighty, Wellington

20/02/2008 - 01/03/2008

NZ Fringe Festival 2008

Production Details

The Ghosts are throwing a party – a kooky commotion!

Wear your ghostly glad rags and become part of their unearthly world. Untimely deaths, musical blowouts, dancing bones, ghoulish illusion …

The Hypnotical Hoodang includes members of Ake Ake Theatre, Barbarian Productions and Zirkus.

February 20, 21, 23, 27, 28, March 1
8 pm
Duration 1 hr

Venue: The Mighty Mighty Cuba St, Wellington 

Full $15 Addict $12
Door Sales Only


Mel Hamilton
Rhys Latton
Carlos Wedde
Pippi Ayesha Evans
Jen MacArthur

1 hr

Slightly nerdy dead people: rough and less than ready

Review by Thomas LaHood 26th Feb 2008

Whether you’re coming to watch the show or just an ordinary punter sloping in for a beer, the ‘Kooky Commotion’ begins as you ascend the stairwell to The Mighty Mighty Bar.  Veiled figures moan in a spooky but oddly musical fashion as you pass.

Beyond the curtains, the mood is distinctly ghostly.  Furniture is piled in heaps and a tall, bony figure, his back to you, winds a gramophone over and over again in the dim far corner of the room.  Faint breezes waft and billow through the curtains.  The night I attended, there were a mere twelve of us in the audience which further heightened the sense of desertedness.

This is the kind of oddball fare that is the lifeblood of the Fringe Festival, a devised show that is clearly put together on far less than the smell of an oily rag.  Loosely constructed around the theme of local ghosts getting together to live it up, the show combines short clown-esque routines with dance sequences, musical numbers, puppetry and ensemble work.  Of course, some of these ‘bits’ are more successful than others, and any semblance of dramatic structure is definitely absent, but the production functions quite successfully as a variety show or cabaret.

While the content is patchy, the four central cast members make a good ensemble.  Their tableaux work (illustrating the sinking of The Penguin in Wellington Harbour, 1909) in particular impressed me, as it’s a form that I generally find tedious.  However, this cast brings life and humour to the sequence largely due to confident performance.

What really brings the show together is the musicality of the Ghost Choir, a motley bunch in black veils who create some wonderful acappella accompaniment to the action as well as acting as stage hands for much of the show.

Special mention must also go to Rhys Latton (Ake Ake) for a fantastic monologue, virtuosic in delivery.  Throughout the show, Latton provides a sure hand, but this piece in particular shows his depth and range as an actor.  Mel Hamilton (Barbarian Productions) also brings laughter with some spectacular death throes.  Her face is wonderfully dramatic too, though some nerves were certainly showing the night I attended.

Jen MacArthur, performer and director of the show, also seemed nervous.  Her solo sketch, a short clown number involving ice skates was, like much of the material on display, underworked.  I imagine this is a result of production pressures.  As I understand it, several cast members – including the band leader – were unable to perform on the night I saw the show.

Yet, in some ways this roughness adds to The Ghosts’ Soiree‘s overall character – this is Brook’s Rough Theatre par excellence, vital and appealing direct to its audience without lofty aesthetic or thespian ideals.  The impression is of a group of slightly nerdy dead people trying very hard to make you have a good time.  And by the end of the night, I have to say, they had all twelve of us up and dancing – and enjoying it too.


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