Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

08/03/2013 - 10/03/2013

Auckland Fringe 2013

Production Details


Find out in the world premiere of The Guilt Sniffer. Team M&M, makers of recent smash hit The Pantry Shelf, return to The Basement with their brand new comedy for three nights only Friday 8th – Sunday 10th March.

The satirical comedy is Auckland’s answer to The Mentalist and Lie to Me. It’s a satire about instinct, reason and finding justice in an unjust world. But mostly it’s about the fraught relationship between New Zealand’s most meticulous cop and her flamboyant partner, who can smell emotions.

A serial killer’s on the loose. He’s killed Detective Ruth Wright’s father. But her methodical precision isn’t enough to bring the killer to justice. The pressure’s on from Commissioner Swift to wrap it up pronto! She makes Wright join forces with Dr Robert MacBride aka The Guilt Sniffer. The only way Wright can solve her dad’s murder is to overcome her obsession with evidence and trust her new partner’s nose.

The Guilt Sniffer started life as a short film, winning 3 awards at the Edinburgh 48 Hour Film Competition. Writers Mark Prebble and Marion Short then developed the script into a 10-minute play for Short+Sweet 2012. Marion will again lead the cast for the Auckland Fringe production reuniting with Short+Sweet cast members Matt Baker and Sheena Irving along with fellow Pantry Shelfers Ben van Lier and Michelle Blundell.

Says Director/Co-Writer Mark Prebble:
Whenever you open the paper or turn on the TV we see our world is soaked in dishonesty, corruption and spin. We need a new kind of hero, one who can actually smell bullshit.

The Guilt Sniffer – Instinct. Reason. Camembert.

Auckland Fringe runs from 15 February to 10 March 2013. For more Auckland Fringe information go to  

8th – 10th March, 5.30pm
Venue: The Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland CBD
Tickets – $20 / $17 Bookings: iTicket – or (09) 361 1000 

Enjoyable silliness

Review by Glen Pickering 09th Mar 2013

Love, fear, happiness, disappointment, regret, guilt? I’m sure we’ve all felt them, but have you ever smelt them?

The Guilt Sniffer reeks of potential. Mark Prebble and Marion Short have written a witty and wonderfully ridiculous script that plays on all the Detective drama stereotypes and pokes fun at Police clairvoyant reality TV shows. It has all the usual characters, is full of puns, one-liners and never takes itself too seriously. 

Ruth Wright (Marion Short) is a cop. A damn good cop. She grew up admiring and emulating her father, Police captain Nathan Wright (Ben van Lier). During Ruth’s youth they meet Robert MacBride (Matt Baker), an orphan who smells her catholic guilt. Captain Wright recognizes a talent in young Robert and becomes a father figure to the boy. Both Ruth and Robert go to Police college and after graduation go their separate ways.

Present day: Ruth has been assigned to a brutal double murder. Robert, now a doctor of some kind, is brought in to help sniff out the murderer. He is of course successful. Then Captain Wright is suddenly murdered. Ruth and Robert throw themselves head-first into the investigation. Their enquiries open up a world of conspiracy that makes them question the very people they trust the most.

Short plays Ruth with a lovely innocence, honesty and determination. Baker embodies the ridiculousness of his character with great truth and his comic timing is precise.

Ben van Lier’s multiple characters are so vastly differently and ridiculous (in a deliberately good way) that you cannot but laugh and Sheena Irving’s physicality serves her well with her characters.

Of the minor roles, it is the versatile Michelle Blundell whose characters are the most memorable and steal the show, especially with her brilliant skill of nailing the one liner. 

I saw the 10-minute version of The Guilt Sniffer in Short + Sweet last year. In the short format the comedy never had time to take off. In this full-length version, they get the time and it definitely helps you understand the world and the style in which the show lives.

However the performances definitely still have rough edges that need to be sharpened and the pace could be tightened to extract more out of the comedy. Also the scene changes are slow and affect the pace of the show.   

For a night out where you know that laughing will out weigh thinking, then pop down to the Basement, grab a beer and enjoy the silliness of this show. 


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