THE WITCHING HOURS Series 2
BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
04/04/2014 - 13/06/2014
Cult smash live show/podcast The Witching Hours is back for more!
What happens when the clock ticks past midnight? What causes the inexplicable and supernatural to become all too logical and real? What is hiding just in the corner of your eye, just out of sight? What are The Witching Hours? And what does Series 2 have in store for you?
Each night just $10 gets you two neverbefore-heard eerie audio dramas performed for you live. Some will chill your blood. Some will tickle your funny bone. All of them will change you. Forever.
Your favourite anthology series of eerie audio dramas is back and bigger than ever! Acclaimed theatre company My Accomplice, fresh from their recent smash successes with the award-winning fringe hit Everything is Surrounded by Water (Best Solo – Wellington Fringe 2014)and the sell-out sensation of 2013 Joseph K (Five Nominations at the 2013 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards), aren’t taking a moment to pause.
After the runaway success of Series 1 – over 4000 total downloads and the top spot on the iTunes podcast chart – My Accomplice are returning with 16 new episodes by New Zealand’s most exciting young writers: Uther Dean (Winner: Best Script – Wellington 48HRS 2013), Adam Goodall (Deadlines and Rageface), James Cain (Horatio), Alice May Connolly (Vampimple and ‘tut‘), Hamish Parkinson (Winner: Best Comedy – Auckland Fringe 2012), Jonny Potts (Three times Best Comedy Nominee – Wellington Fringe), Francesa Emms (Graduate of the prestigious IIML Scriptwriting Masters Programme, numerous Radio New Zealand Drama commissions), Alex Lodge (Tea for Toot and the up-coming Young and Hungry Commission Our Parents’ Children), Cherie Jacobson & Ed Watson (The Island Bay Loners’ Doomsday Christmas Singalong)are all putting pen to paper to write their very best spooky tale.
On Friday the 4th of April at 9pm, you’ll be treated to:
FIRE AND EYES a scary story of swords and sorcery by Uther Dean (the A Play About trilogy, Best Solo – NZ Fringe Awards 2014) and
a totalitarian tale we like to call WE CAN DESTROY IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE by Adam Goodall (Deadlines & Rageface).
On Friday the 11th of April at 9pm, your mind will be melted by;
the timey-wimey madness of ONE IS THE ONLY-IST NUMBER by Uther Dean before
the mystical and mythical LOKI BOUND by James Cain (Horatio) takes you to a whole other world.
On Thursday the 17th of April at 9pm, we’ll show you
all the body horrors of young love in APPLE OF MY EYE by Alice May Connolly (Vampimple & ‘tut’) and then
explore the ghoulish world of bodysnatchers in THE RESURRECTIONISTS! by Uther Dean.
On Friday the 25th of April at 9pm, we’ll
explore what lives in the depths of our seas in SEA CREATURE by Hamish Parkinson (Square Eye Pair & Velcro City) and
surf the weird waves of late night radio in THE GRAVEYARD SHIFT by Jonny Potts (3 times Best Comedy nominee – NZ Fringe Awards).
After a break for the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival,
on Friday the 23rd of May at 9pm, we kick back into it with
Alice May Connolly’s exploration of a dying world in THE BIG SLEEPOVER and then
we’ll have ourselves an odd-little locked door mystery with IIML graduate Francesca Emms’ CONCEPTION ROOM KILLER.
On the 30th of May at 9pm,
courtesy of Alex Lodge (Tea for Toot and Our Parents’ Children in this year’s Young and Hungry) we will discover how a small town reacts to the arrival of a mysterious stranger known only as THE CONDUCTOR, after that
Uther Dean will treat us to the most bizarre DVD commentary of all time in SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE: MURDER.
The two final episodes of series 2 will be performed on Friday 6th and 13th of June. More information soon.
Think The Twilight Zone but with the best special effects company ofall time: the human imagination.The second season of 16 will be performedand recorded live, every Friday night after the last show at BATS. Each will then bepodcast for the whole world to enjoy at thewitchinghours.com, on iTunes and most other popular podcatchers. Tickets areonly $10 for everyone to encourage people totake a punt on this new way of doing things. Be in the live audience, and see how different it is live!
This season is split into two parts:
4th, 11th, 17th, 25th April.
Then we take a break for the Comedy Festival and return on
23rd and 30th May, 6th and 13th June.
Fridays only (takes a break for Comedy Festival)
Totally weird; strange and engaging
Review by Charlotte Simmonds 05th Apr 2014
The first Witching Hours series was written solely by Uther Dean and in a ridiculously short space of time too. “Quick, cheap and disposable,” was how he described the radio plays. They may have been quickly written, and yes, with a price range of $0 to $10 they were and are pretty cheap, but they seem to have been anything but disposable, with the podcasts of the live show going on to have at last 700 downloads each; with some episodes hitting over 1,000. Not too shabby! It took me at least two years for my paparazzi photo of Naomi Watts’ arse to clock up that many hits on Flickr!
The second series features many other writers who are not Dean and who all have a fair few decently quirky texts to their names already. In fact, Dean has only written a quarter of the scripts this time.
Tonight I saw Uther Dean’s seventh radio play, Fire and Eyes, a hilarious futuristic-fantasy story about dragons who subsist on eyes while humans work the eye-farms that feed them in the interests (or should that be… disinterests?!) of world peace.
The story is purposefully packed with trope after trope and punchline after punchline and it seems that if you pack a story full of enough tropes and predictable plot turns, you get something that goes way beyond ripping off anything and transcends all this into the realm of the totally weird, some kind of alternate universe of script-writing.
Tragically, I did spot a missed pun opportunity (the endearing dragon Luciole, played by Hannah Banks, finds out she is a seer and then burns people alive with no mention of ‘seering’!) but there were plenty of others (prodragonist!) I would never have come up with myself.
What Uther has done with the first series is set a pretty solid tone that has certainly carried through to the second. That may be a presumptuous conclusion to jump to after having seeing only one of the scripts not written by Dean, but I have no doubt the same mood and atmosphere will continue throughout the season.
Adam Goodall’s We Can Destroy It For You Wholesale is markedly not-by-Dean, yet still markedly The Witching Hours. It is not laugh a minute, and nor does it feel as though Goodall is fully at home yet in the blind medium of radio writing – there are clumsy workarounds to show what is taking place which are most certainly deliberately clumsy in the interests of humour, yet somehow end up just feeling clumsy to me – but the story is strange and engaging and set in Wellington and the very fabric of time is shredded before our ears, which is just what The Witching Hours sets out to do. And the ‘EP’ concept of The Witching Hours means the format has plenty of room for trial, error, experimentation, success or slightly less success.
And my opinion is by no means anything more than an opinion: divided audience members were overhead quarrelling, “I liked the first one more,” and “I didn’t, I liked the second.”
One nice thing about seeing The Witching Hours in the theatre as opposed to listening to them (and I find the two experiences to be vastly different) is being able to see a foley table operating. This could certainly be worked on and developed a lot. As the live audience we could see that the device being used to replicate the sound of a commercial bulk paper shredder was in fact a humble office paper shredder, but if I were listening to this on radio, I would have heard the noise of a vacuum cleaner and wondered what it was doing there.
I hope my accomplice will end up doing a lot more with their foley in future episodes. The fun thing about seeing foley live is, of course, those moments of, “That object makes that noise?!” (Uther eating grapes is a dragon eating eyes?)
All stories are narrated by Jonny Potts, Wellington’s golden voice of radio as heard previously on Twitter Poetry Night NZ, The Kincaid Weekender and The Witching Hours series 1. Fire and Eyes and We Can Destroy It For You Wholesale are performed by Hannah Banks, Paul Waggott and Francesca Emms. Both Potts and Emms also have scripts being performed later in the series.
Tane Upjohn-Beatson records the performance and provides great keyboard incidentals that, especially when the story is reduced to sole audio, actually provide a hell of lot more storyline-related information than you might think.
I’m going to try and see the whole series and if you’ve only listened to the podcasts till now, it’s worth seeing at least one show live just to compare to two experiences. The live shows are funding the free podcasts after all.
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