Newtown Community Centre, Wellington

14/02/2014 - 16/01/2014

NZ Fringe Festival 2014

Production Details

When Astrid’s parents are killed, she discovers that she’s actually a robot surrogate daughter – and now her parents are gone, she’s out of the job! Astrid must visit other robots to find a suitable job before she’s permanently decommissioned.

Newtown Community Centre
14 – 16 February 2014
8pm, 12.30pm

Theatre ,


A seed worth working on

Review by Phoebe Smith 17th Feb 2014

Squidwig Productions’ Robot Monologues opens with solo performer Emma Smith addressing her audience as though we are at a WINZ seminar, while programmes-cum-informational-pamphlets are handed out to us all. These inform us that we, robots, have been decommissioned. We will each be given a complimentary ‘decommissioning mint’ that will reprogramme our system and provide us with a whole new identity. 

Smith then takes us on a journey through the many identities that have inhabited her robot body over time, returning in between to revisit her WINZ persona and maintain the notion that we are all participants in the seminar. 

Co-written and directed by Becca Barnes and Alwyn Dale and staged at the Newtown Community Centre, The Robot Monologues is a neat concept that allows a solo actor to explore a range of characters physically and vocally and thus brings to mind the type of performances we see during Toi Whakaari’s solo seasons.

Emma Smith slips between these identities successfully, but at times the characters are clichéd and at times the physical distinction could be clearer.

More problematic is the lack of a clear narrative aim in the piece. It is difficult to invest emotionally in these characters when often I am still catching up with what is going on in the bigger picture of the play. There is definitely a seed in here that is worth working on and I hope that this production company will take this script and workshop it to give it a sense of balance and direction. 

I would happily go and watch a second, reworked season of this show. If nothing else, it’s worth seeing for the song and dance alone!


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council