Whitireia Performance Centre, 25-27 Vivian Street, Wellington

24/02/2016 - 26/02/2016

Playhouse Theatre, Dunedin

03/03/2016 - 05/03/2016

Dunedin Fringe 2016

Production Details

Lounge room lament receives Cabaret treatment 

The cry ‘There’s nothing on TV’ has been heard in lounge rooms across the country for years – but it has taken until now for the concerns of the ordinary viewer to be addressed in a cabaret show.

Vocalist Jason Henderson is resolved to make sense of the situation in a brand-new one-man cabaret show of songs, stories and just a few questions at the Whitreia Theatre during the 2016 Fringe Festival.

A TV guide unlike any other, the channel-trawling-singer will guide audiences through the quagmire of Reality Television, Period Drama, Nature Documentaries and Disney movies will in an effort to discover what we want and why we can’t seem to get it.

Jason says the genre of Cabaret is particularly suited to exploring this pressing issue “Music helps us express emotion when words alone fail – when it comes to ‘reality television’, wordsfail.”

‘There’s Nothing on TV’ will include a combination of well-known and lesser-known songs from a range of genres including Film and Musical Theatre all stitched together with humour and Jason’s trade-mark wit.

Joining Jason onstage will be Musical Director and piano accompanist Fiona McCabe. The pair have previously worked together to acclaim. Of Jason’s one-man cabaret I think you’ll like this… (also being performed in this Fringe Festival) The Star (Dunedin) reviewed: “Henderson was likeable indeed in an original show filled with self-deprecating humour and music from shows, films and even oratorio. Beautifully accompanied by musical director Fiona McCabe.”

On the importance of the project, Jason says “Of the many first-world-problems we have to endure, there being Nothing on TV is pretty near the top of the list. I hope that this show will be a kind of catharsis for a beleaguered viewing public.”

There’s Nothing on TV

Whitireia Theatre
Wed 24 & Fri 26 February, 7pm. Sun 28 February, 3pm
Tickets from

Playhouse Theatre, 31 Albany St, Dunedin
Thu 3 Mar – Sat 5 Mar
55 mins
All Ages
Price$10.00 – $15.00
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Theatre , Musical , Cabaret ,

Brief spurts of quality

Review by Reuben Hilder 04th Mar 2016

In the age of TV-enabled apathy, Jason Henderson brings us a unique, music filled, window into the life and mind of a TV addict. There’s Nothing on TV explores the relationship between a man, his goldfish, and his bigscreen TV.

Sitting in an armchair amidst a cluttered mass of TV guides, food containers and other such typical debris of bachelor life, Henderson’s performance follows a simple formula: sing a song, deliver a few lines of dialogue to lead into the next song, and repeat ad nauseam.

The songs, accompanied by musical director Fiona McCabe on piano, are well selected, performed, and sometimes rewritten. Unfortunately, they are robbed of much of their impact by a lack of plot, character development or variation in staging choices. Eventually the cycle becomes monotonous and the songs seem to run together before the show abruptly, and without any sense of resolution or finality, ends.

The short interludes between the songs are a tragically wasted opportunity. They could easily be used to provide character insight or develop some kind of story arc to make the sentimental, even wistful musical performances seem much more meaningful. Instead they are relegated to being rushed segues with the occasional throwaway joke or pop culture reference thrown in.

That being said, there are definitely still some moments that shine. Of particular note are Henderson’s interactions with his goldfish, Fred. It is not often I find myself wishing a goldfish was a more predominant character, but as we learn about Fred’s love of Dancing with the Stars and see him shielded from televisions more corrupting images with a pillow, both the quirky charm and melancholy undertones of Henderson’s character are brought out brilliantly.

During one of the songs, Henderson even picks up and dances with Fred’s bowl, and in doing so demonstrates his considerable talent as a physical performer. While this is an undeniable highlight, it also makes Henderson’s decision to spend most of the show singing from an armchair that much more puzzling. 

With brief spurts of quality that promise a truly fantastic show, could they only be maintained, There’s Nothing on TV is still and enjoyable collection of musical vignettes that is charming and fun but ultimately forgettable.


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A juicy delight

Review by Joana Simmons 25th Feb 2016

There may be nothing on TV but there is something in Jason Henderson; and that is one wonderful voice.  There’s Nothing on TV is one of Jason’s THREE one man shows in the New Zealand Fringe festival this year, and is worthy of the decision to swap Netflix for theatre tix.

Surrounded by a squabble of set that comprises of a lazy boy, chip packets, old TV guides and lotto tickets, underneath the warm glow of your classic living room lamp, Jason comfortably croons tunes about big screens, big dreams and “stuff”. He is accompanied by Musical Director Fiona McCabe who, under a single light on the grand piano, make the songs float into the audience as beautifully and warmly as the lazy boy chair that Jason sang them from. 

Opening with ‘The Circle of Life’ from The Lion King and going from original songs to the classics, each number suits Jason’s voice and the concept, with clever lyrics and playing on words being the highlight.  The stand out for me is ‘Downton’ – a wonderful new take on Petula Clark’s 60’s ditty about everyone’s favourite British household. In this showy and funny number Jason moves around with presence and style, something I would love to see more of throughout the show.

When he makes use of the space and touches the array of clutter you would expect to see in the living room of someone who’s diary is the TV Guide, it is great. I feel it could add another dimension to the performance if he highlighted the clever original songs with some clever choreography and used the space and props more throughout the whole show.

There are undertones of the themes of loneliness (apart from Fred, the Goldfish, who loves Dancing with the Stars but isn’t allowed to watch The Bachelor) and not being able to trust the media. A few lines link to each song as Jason changes channels, but for me they’re not enough to establish a real character history; I am left asking “but why?” The songs start and end like a concert, rather than flowing and building from one to another like a story, and the journey and character growth, or change from one channel or idea to another, isn’t clear.  

As a performer, Jason shows depth, but the story itself doesn’t, and whilst I trust and feel safe with his trained and skilled performance, I would love to see him play a bit more unsafe: take risks to add more texture and range in his comedic choices. 

There’s Nothing on TV is a juicy delight that makes you smile and tilt your head to one side as Fiona McCabe and Jason Henderson take you through a TV guide via the comfy couch of cabaret.  Jason is a charismatic talent who, I’m sure, like a good TV series, is going to get better and better every season. 


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