The Skyrocketeers of Justice Vs The Zombie Apocalypse

BATS Theatre, Wellington

08/02/2009 - 12/02/2009

NZ Fringe Festival 2009

Production Details

Prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse!

Chess Club Underground present "The Skyrocketeers of Justice Vs The Zombie Apocalypse" as part of this year’s Fringe Festival and it promises to be a comedy to end all worlds.

See the YouTube promo.

Three average guys become convinced that their suburb is being infiltrated by zombies when three suspicious looking gentlemen move in next door. They begin a misguided crusade to rid the town of these suspected undead. Will the heroes manage to rid the town of the walking dead? Yes. Yes they will. Or will they?… yes.

TSOJVsTZA is an absurd comedy with projected filmed segments mixed in with the live show, including musical numbers. Those remarkably obscure, likely lads from Chess Club Productions are at it again (for the first time). Barnaby Fredric, James Kupa and Paul Harrop teamed up in 2008 with the popular 48 hour film "The Hack Pack" are now putting their own unique comedy style to the test in their first professional offering since leaving Drama School.

Chess Club Productions hope their show will make you cry golden tears of joy that you can then sell. You’ll be rich you fool. Happy Birthday.

The Skyrocketeers of Justice vs The Zombie Apocalypse
8th to the 12th of February
at 6:30pm at Bats Theatre
as part of the 2009 Fringe festival.
Tickets cost  $16 full price $12 concession and $10 fringe addict. 
We’ll see you there chum.  

Lighting, Sound & AV Operator: Luke McIndoe

40 min, no interval

Promise fizzles

Review by Lynn Freeman 18th Feb 2009

The Skyrocketeers…..continues the Fringe tradition of flat-based plays, a logical starting point for young writers.  The point of difference with this one being the flat was surrounded by Zombies. 

The play showed great promise at the start then fizzled out as the three lads struggled to fill the hour.  But it had its moments and these three recent Toi Whakaari graduates – Barnaby Fredric, James Kupa and Paul Harrop – have done well to get a play up so quickly. 

And you have to like a play when the programme notes read: "We hope your brains don’t get eaten during the show. Huzzah."


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Rooted in truth

Review by John Smythe 09th Feb 2009

There is no doubting these boys are funny. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, for lads who have been incarcerated together at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School for three years, they depict with great veracity three dysfunctional co-habiters who are too scared of the ‘real world’ outside to liberate themselves from each other. 

The outside world is swarming with zombies which is, of course, a metaphor. Those who come from that world to see this show may feel free to be offended. But of course these are immature boys, clownish in their innocence, naivety, gullibility, egotism and ability to be unthinkingly cruel. They are the child who lurks within every man.

Paul Harrop’s Reginald McGuigan (whose video clip tells us he’s a paint-ball enthusiast) has all the good ideas which are instantly claimed as his own by Barnaby Fredric’s Jacob R System (who also feels responsible for 9/11) while James Kupa’s Sebastian Mayflower (raised by wolves) excels at emotional melt-downs and manipulation. It is a status quo they’ve come to accept – except when they don’t.

Faced with starving, held captive as they are by their fear of the moaning and groaning Undead outside, the question is: who will venture forth for food? A talent quest – suggested by Reg and instantly purloined by Jake – produces my favourite moment in the show, which I won’t give away. Suffice to say, what may seem like random silliness at times is enriched from the start with a whimsically deconstructed awareness that this is theatre, except at this moment, for two of them at least.

The stabbing frenzy that follows is what finally sends them on their separate ways and more amusing video sequences show us how they fare …  But there is no sign of zombies: make of this what you will. (Picking up on my first par, maybe their brief liberation reflects the secondments to work experience opportunities, often to international climes, that began their 3rd year at Toi.)

Billed as an absurdist comedy, The Skyrocketeers of Justice Vs The Zombie Apocalypse does distil realities of human existence to reveal their essential absurdity. While their media release suggests they began with a more coherent story (click on the play title above) they have taken away some of the numbers they first thought of, which is fine: all part of the creative process. Even so, there could be more cohesion, better pay-offs for the excellent set-ups and a resolution that rewards us more for the attention we’ve paid.

Cue the dialogue that follows a clip that celebrates a gift of biscuits from Grandma:
– What’s the point? The point for the greater story?

– This isn’t a story, it’s real life, and sometimes real life is meaningless.
OK, fair enough. But we don’t need to book seats and pay money to watch real life.

If Fredric, Kupa and Harrop are simply using this fun show to segue from drama school to the wider world – and processing their fears at the prospect as they go? – hey, good for them: it’s rooted in enough truth to carry its 40 min fret and strut, no problem. If they want to take it further, on the Comedy Festival circuit perhaps, they’ll need to develop it more (not least to validate the title). It’s a scary, competitive and very alive wide world out there …


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