BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

17/01/2024 - 20/01/2024

Six Degrees Festival 2024

Production Details

Stage Director - Daniel Nodder (he/they)
Dramaturg - Anna Secker (she/her)
Producer, Marketing & Script Adaptation - India Worsnop (she/her)

Stuff & Things Theatre

“Newly single bachelor David must learn to conform to his world’s dystopian adult dating climate in a 45-day ‘Relationship Hotel’—or transform into the eponymous crustacean. With such a limited time to find the love of their life, the propagandising of the nuclear family in the hotel breeds a deep fear of loneliness in the hearts of each guest—terrified to discover what life after the hotel could mean. Laced with unflinchingly dark humour, the play is sure to appeal to fans of the original film and win over the hearts of newcomers. Will David meet his match and ascend beyond his claustrophobic confines, or succumb to his aquatic fate?”

Stuff & Things Theatre is thrilled to produce the world-premiere stage adaptation of the 2015 award-winning black comedy film ‘The Lobster’, originally written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz. THE LOBSTER is a riveting, 75-minute theatrical take on the titular film, directed by prolific Pōneke-based creatives, Daniel Nodder and Anna Secker. An enthralling combination of classic absurdism and striking physical theatre, backed by a dramatic orchestral sound design (by Nodder & Teddy O’Neill), THE LOBSTER is a must-see for film fanatics and strangers alike.

Licensed under special arrangement with Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou & Sayle Screen Ltd.

BATS Theatre, ‘The Dome’.
17-20th January 2024
Book online at

Stage Manager & Intimacy Director - Angela Pelham (she/her)
Show Designer - Scott Maxim (he/they)
Operator - Alex Quinn (he/him)
Costumer - Peggie Barnes (she/her)
Co-Sound Designer & Operator - Teddy O’Neill (he/ia)

David - Thomas Robinson (he/they/she)
Biscuit Woman & Hotel Manager - Aimée Sullivan (she/her)
Heartless Woman & Receptionist - Anna Secker (she/her)
Limping Man - Nathan Arnott (he/they/she)
Hotel Maid & Best Friend - Rebecca Lester (she/they)
Lisping Man - Tadhg Mackay (he/him)
Nosebleed Woman - Elle Wachswender (she/they)
Narrator - Susan Williams (they/them)

Physical , Theatre ,

75 minutes

Energetic and engaged cast commit to the bleakness

Review by Tim Stevenson 18th Jan 2024

The Lobster is a relentlessly grim allegory about what drives people into sexual partnerships, and the trade-offs they are forced to make on the way. The play’s take on its subject is singularly dark. The price of not being in a partnership is high. Fail, and you will be surgically remodelled as the animal of your choice. This has its good and bad sides. As an animal, you might be loved by your owners. On the other hand, you might be killed by a larger animal, or possibly your owners.

Alternatively, you can remove yourself from the contest; the e-flyer warns that the show contains depictions of suicide.

The pathway to a partnership is only slightly more appealing. There are strict rules which you must follow; break them, and you may be punished, with torture being a live option (the punishment for being caught masturbating seems particularly severe). The convention is that you must find a partner who is like you in some signature way, like having nosebleeds, or being heartless. If you fake the necessary resemblance, you fail.

The newly single have 45 days in which to partner up with someone suitable. During this time, they are expected to hunt down ‘loners’: people who have already failed to find a partner within the time limit. Once caught, loners are transformed into animals, with consequences as described.

The Lobster follows the story of David, a recent arrival at the mysterious, institution-like hotel which provides the setting for all these goings-on. He has to learn the rules – which involves suffering various physical and mental humiliations – and conduct his own partnership quest. On the way, he encounters other inmates and makes some qualified friendships.

The Lobster is a stage adaptation of a critically and commercially successful 2015 film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (who also directed recent movie success, Poor Things), and written by Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou. It’s a brave choice for a theatre show. There’s the story line, for one thing – to call it “bleak” is putting it mildly. For another, there’s the overall take on relationships, which is equally bleak. Roughly speaking, characters have to work with one of three main options: blinkered self-delusion, detached cruelty, or you can become an animal (not recommended).

There’s also the technical challenge presented by the loner hunting sequences. These take place outdoors, so there’s that question about how you create that sense of seeking and hiding across wide spaces.

Another way of putting it is that The Lobster is a perfect choice for students from the local Master of Fine Arts program to work on their chops as professional theatre makers, with MFA students India Worsnop and Anna Secker collaborating as producer/publicist and dramaturg/actor (Worsnop also adapted the film script for the stage). 

This production doesn’t shy away from the element of bleakness in the script. Instead, it doubles down on it. The set is minimalist – white screens for backdrops, grey blocks for furniture. Costumes are white or shades of grey. The main departures from the white-and-grey rule are the ‘dart guns’, which look pale gold in some lights, and blood, which is your standard red.

The style of acting, you could say, matches the decor. Judging by tone of voice and physical expression and gesture, everyone – staff and inmates – goes along with the hotel rules, no matter how cruel or bizarre, and also with the savage punishments that follow transgressions. Ordinary qualities of warmth and emotional nuance are largely absent (including in the fairly explicit sex scenes). This is presumably part of the message, although for this reviewer, a side effect is to make it difficult to engage with the characters and their predicaments.

In terms of spectacle, the result is a production that comes across as being deadpan in tone; surprisingly peaceful, in fact, apart from the occasional scream or groan. Watching it, I want someone to kick against the pricks, throw some colour around, take a rebel’s stand for love and anarchy – but nope, that ain’t gonna happen, and I guess that’s the point the writers and directors want to get across.

The Lobster is fortunate in having a well-rehearsed, energetic and engaged cast. They throw themselves into their parts with all the enthusiasm permitted by the production’s interpretation of its material.The Lobster is described in the publicity material as a black comedy. Your reviewer was not amused, but there was lots of laughter from the rest of the audience, which also whooped and applauded loudly at the end.


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