The Tragic Tale of the E n' B: A Comedy

Blue Barn, 16 King St, Mt. Cook, Wellington

28/02/2012 - 03/03/2012

NZ Fringe Festival 2012

Production Details

Eggs…Bricks…and Bassoons???!  

Emotional Tramps presents the world premiere of the new play, The Tragic Tale of the E n’ B: A Comedy, written by Andrew Goddard. Unknown to many, in the depths ofNew Zealand’s economy there existed a small enterprise called the “Egg and Brick Emporium” – purveyor of eggs, bricks and bassoons, miscellaneous puzzle pieces and other necessary goods. Spurred by a spurious marketing campaign & dubious dealings with doubly dubious multinational corporations whilst battling an overly litigious QC the store will achieve success of astronomical degrees. But with the pride comes the fall with global implications.

Directed by Tim C Yarrow, the founder of Emotional Tramps The E n’ B promises to be a Fringe show not to be missed. Tim C Yarrow has recently immigrated to New Zealand from Edinburgh, Scotland where he has worked as a professional actor and studied as a theatrical director at Queen Margaret University. Tim C Yarrow recently received 7 awards at Wellington District Theatre Federation awards for his first Wellington directing project Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead with Wellington Repertory Theatre.  

The E n’ B will be Emotional Tramps debut show in Wellington after its 3 years operating as a successful company in Scotland. Emotional Tramps aims to encourage and nurture new writing in New Zealand and true to form has started its season with The E n’ B a new play by Andrew Goddard, also the Assistant Creative Director of Emotional Tramps.

The show will also feature actors such as Andrew Goddard and Ben Haddock who have worked with David Lawrence’s award winning The Bacchanals and Ben Fransham who has worked in theatre and major motions pictures, such as Heavenly Creatures, 30 Days of Night and has recently finished filming The Cure by award winning director David Gould.

Tickets will be on sale from Wednesday, 1st February on Dash Tickets and from retailer Cosmic Corner.

Blue Barn, 16 King St, Mt.Cook
Tue 28 Feb – Sat 3 Mar 2012, 8:00 p.m.
PRICES: Full $16, Concession $13, Artist Card $10
Dash Tickets

CAST (in alphabetical order):
Ben Fransham: Damian, The Lehman Brothers
Andrew Goddard: Max
Adam Goodall: Legal Slave, Customer, Radio Interviewee
Carrie Green: Forest
Ben Haddock: Nathan
David Laidler: Jack
Chris O'Grady: James Avery QC, Mr. Taxpayer
Hannah Paterson: Julia
Alicia Pierson: The Radio Announcer
Rebecca Sim: Legal Slave, Customer, Radio Interviewee
Raine Saul-Yarrow: Young Girl in Basketball Video
Sunny Saul-Yarrow: Young Boy in Basketball Video
Writer: Andrew Goddard
Script Editor & Creative Contributor: Alex Braae
Director: Tim C. Yarrow
Production Manager: Andrew Goddard
Set Design: Tim C. Yarrow & Emma Yarrow
Original Music & Lyrics: Alex Braae
Music Video Directors: Tim C. Yarrow, Andrew Goddard & Alex Braae
Sound Design: Alan Burden
Puppet Design: Jonathan Kingston-Smith
Lighting & Sound Operator: Emma Yarrow & Whoever-Was-Closest-At-The-Time
Marketing & Publicity: Emma Yarrow
Set Construction: Tim C. Yarrow, Emma Yarrow and the Team
Front of House: Emma Yarrow

Tough times for the Egg and Brick

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 01st Mar 2012

Over the years political satire has been a very common form of theatre yet Emotional Tramps production, under Tim Yarrow’s direction, of Andrew Goddard’s play The Tragic Tale of the E ‘n’ B: A Comedy takes this a step further into political absurdity.

The rise and fall of a little Kiwi business and the influence of market forces is essentially what the play is about and while not wildly funny it has some cleverly written one liners and takes an astute and wry look at the global economy and NZ’s role in the current financial crisis.

Max (Andrew Goddard) and his two share holders Nathan (Ben Haddock) andForest(Carrie Green) decide that the combining of two unlikely items – eggs and bricks – into one brand as a product is going to make them a fortune. 

Thus is born the Egg and Brick Emporium. They take on another assistant Jack (David Laidler) and with some creative marketing business is booming; so much so that they are then taken over by an American entrepreneur Damian (Ben Fransham).  But then things start to go downhill fast. 

Not only do they have to deal with an officious official from the Commerce Commission, James Avery QC (Chris O’Grady) but the Australian’s ban the import of NZ bricks and animal rights activists’ burn down their poultry farm.  Investors pull out of the venture, they go into receivership and the government bales them out.

Various morals about greed, self preservation and business ethics come through as the energetic cast delivers the dialogue with much yelling and shouting and flesh out the characters as best they can. 

When subtly does prevail the lines come across as witty and relatively intelligent although there are almost too many threads running through the play and some prodigious pruning of the script would help focus on the core of the subject matter.

Nevertheless as a piece of absurdist theatre with political undertones it is entertaining and is somewhat different in style and content to most of this year’s Fringe Festival productions.


Jim Sim March 1st, 2012

I went on opening night and quite enjoyed this comedy. I'm not sure what Caoilinn Hughes was expecting. Trying to be a bit too clever in destructive dissection of something that was clearly a bit of fun and a first time playwriting effort with some (but not all) relatively inexperienced actors giving it an enthusiastic go is mean spirited and says more about the reviewer than the subject. Yes there were a few confused moments and it probably tried a bit too hard but there were also also some moments of genius, (Loved the Lehman brothers scene!) some crack-up one liners, a lot of poultry puns and some interesting social commentary. If I was scoring reviewers efforts, Caoilinn Hughes review gets 1/10 - Ewen Coleman's review in the Dom post calls the E 'n' B about right by comparison. 

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The Eggs & Bricks Emporium Needs Bread and Butter

Review by Caoilinn Hughes 29th Feb 2012

With The Tragic Tale of The E ‘n’ B: A Comedy, the Emotional Tramps Theatre Company are trying to do far too much with a play that is already trying to do far too much.

They are trying to analogise and satirise the global financial crisis through the story of a small, eccentric Kiwi retail shop, which enjoyed success through a misleading social media campaign and thus gleaned the interest of American inventors. The investors, ‘Conventional Wisdoms’, working with the Leman Brothers, leverage the Eggs and Bricks Emporium produce (the name of the shop is E ‘n’ B for short) to a dangerous extent and it all plays out in an evil-investors-bailout-saviours-dead-ideals situation.

They are trying to employ Brechtian ‘epic’ theatre conventions – an emphasis on Marxist concerns, socialist character, alienation, the meta-set/ breaking of fourth wall – to make audience members aware that they are seeing a play, thus to break the illusion of reality and compel the audience into socio-political engagement/ to arouse action.

Sub-titled “a comedy”, tongue-in-cheek elements include the directorial decision to have a copy of a Stanislavski book on the set table (a performer’s guidebook for a particular method of acting that advocates drawing on memories in order to generate believable emotions onstage). Of course, one of the actors draws on it on stage. How meta-theatrical and self-congratulatory.

They also aim to employ absurdist techniques and Grotowskian production elements. They aim to “create accessible theatre, which caters for all demographics. We wish not to be exclusive or pretentious in our approach” (from ‘About Emotional Tramps’ in the program).

They also aim to multi-task; with the writer, Andrew Goddard, as the leading actor.

The script is the main culprit in this production. And the whole thing is too fast, too loud and too confused. We get a Basil Exposition (cf: Austin Powers) of the plot throughout, revealing the background information required to understand the circumstances in a heavy-handed, condescending way.

It is at its worst in the second-half of the play, when Max explains to his colleagues (and thus the audience) how the economic system works, and how we got into this mess. The explanation itself confuses globalisation, financial and capital markets and trade tariffs in a bizarre fuddle of wisdoms. You can’t be preachy if you’re not going to be clear or coherent. The mechanisms for delivering the ideas are so blunt as to be offensive. 

There are other problems too; like the fact that Goddard’s first female character is a sex-object and his second is a bitchy, high-maintenance, manipulative wife who is only smiling when she’s talking about babies or wearing a fur coat.

This is simply too much for any theatre company, never mind a first-time playwright and a cast, very few of whom (if any) seem to have graduated from a drama school. Thought this is difficult to tell, due to the facetious program notes, such as: “Andrew Goddard (playwright and lead actor) is a quadruped. He has a heart, a stomach, a large forehead and a beak for eating honey.”

Honey, eggs, bricks, miscellaneous puzzle pieces. Where is the bread and butter?

I would have liked to know what Goddard’s background is, as he has strong potential as an actor (whenever he stops trying to play Johnny Depp). He has some strong moments in the last twenty minutes and I would very much like to see him play someone else’s script. 


Wightmans March 3rd, 2012

We have just got back from a pleasant evening at the E 'n' B play and are thus surprised to read the above review.

We found Mr. Goddard's play charming, funny and nicely topical.

We found the production to be interesting and innovative and clearly the result of much hard work. 

As for Brechtian 'epic' theatre conventions and books on Stanislavski acting methods, these passed us by.

We felt our $16 had been well spent. 

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